Saturday, October 21, 2017

11:00 AM start time to Oilers, Flyers game, what was the NHL thinking.

Games that start in the AM are all mental as athlete's bodies are creatures of habits.  Playing at 1:00 am eastern time is likely around the time guys are use to relaxing, not firing on all cylinders.  When do you eat your pregame meal.  I have always felt older teams with more experience do better at the early games just because age teaches players how to mentally will themselves to compete when the body wants to sleep.

5 observations in Oilers 2-1 loss to the Flyers.

1.  I bet the analytics of giving up the first goal and winning are not very good.  The Oilers have to do a better job at start of the game.  They cannot continue to give up the first goal and hope to have success.  Based on the fact they suck at the PK that means not taking penalties.  

2.  By not developing a shot McDavid is like a pass first point guard in the NBA.  You just play off the guy, keep him in front of you, take away passing lanes and dare him to shoot.   McDavid is no different.  His wrist shot is so slow.  He puts his weight on stick, twists body, goalie has a smoke and then he shoots. No slap or snap shot to speak of.  Any competent NHL goalie if he sees McDavid shoot is going to stop his shot.  For all of McDavid's greatness you just have to stop the breakaways and clog up passing lanes to really limit his ability.  I say limit because you can't stop great players, you can just limit them.  What also limits McDavid is he loses so many of his faceoffs.  

3.  Lucic, an older player was a force in this game.  Strong game on the puck.  Make that man an ice man because when you hit him it is like running into a wall of ice.  I love watching Flyers bounce off him.  So strong on the boards.  Didn't show up on score sheet but nobody on his line did.  Strome was missing in action and RNH played way too much on the outside.  Never was able to get the puck into good scoring areas.  

4.  Some like to point out how Oilers keep winning shot metrics which I believe is a fancy way of saying Oilers out shoot the opposing team.  This may be the case but it sure doesn't seem like there are a lot of hard saves being made by the opposing goalies.  What Oiler has a good shot?  Other than injured Draisaitl I can't think of one Oiler with a shot that keeps goalies awake at night.  I also don't see enough passes leading to shots when opposing goalie is moving and not set.  It seem like the team is doing the whole Jordan Eberle, dust the puck off and shoot the puck giving goalies chance to get square to the shooter.  With the size of goalies these days I just don't see how you are going to score unless the goalie is moving, not set.  

5.  Adam Larsson brought the ice tonight.  He seems to have found his game.  You can see him getting in better position, making some real solid hits.  I think at the start of the season he had to adjust to the new ways they were calling the rules but now has seemed to settle in back the really strong physical player we have come to love in Edmonton.  

Disappointing loss.  Team definitely has to figure itself out without Draisailt in lineup.  Looks very slow on ice.  Thoughts?  Leave a comment.

Master Iceman

Friday, October 20, 2017

McDavid is not Gretzky and that is perfectly OK.

I don't even remember Gretzky all that well anymore.  You'd think I would watch youtube videos or the bio videos of 99 I bought but it hurts too much to watch knowing I will never see Gretzky play hockey like he did through the eyes of a child when I say him last play.  What is the same is wanting more than anything to be able to turn on the TV and being able to watch both play.   The McDavid spin doopsey doodle to Maroon a fire hydrant on skates, smart enough to put his stick on the ice and score, is why McDavid is must see, don't call for ice or you will be blackballed for not watching Oilers hockey, TV!

5 observations in Oilers 2-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

1.  Maroon scores so as I like to say to summer student workers you are not completely useless and if you want to get paid be the fire hydrant.  Being strong on your stick, in the right places is all you need to really do with McDavid.  Get out of his way, when he doesn't have the puck, get him the puck and make yourself open in a good scoring spot ready to receive the puck.  It is as easy and hard as that.  I still won't like Maroon's game until he reaches out and punches someone. 

2.  Oilers were a 100 point and then some team last year because of Talbot just as much as McDavid. Talbot has to be better than the other goalie for the Oilers to win.  A good goalie will steal wins when the rest of the team is out of sync.  If Talbot isn't playing well you can't sit him at the start of the year.  You ride him until he works his way out of the flaws in his game because if Talbot isn't one of the top goalies in the league the Oilers are not winning any cups. 

3.  I didn't mind when Kassian hit the Chicago player from behind.  It isn't my favorite type of hit but for Kassian he has to toe the line between being a bring the ice type player and a dirty one.  Intimidation is one of the most underrated skill sets in sports as it can't really be quantified with analytics.  In my experience fear of an opposing player changes how you play the game.  Kassian is one of those guys with crazy eyes who you just don't know if he will lose his mind on the ice.  There is value to that type of player.  The rub is upon occasion Kassian pulls a Kassian and plants an opposing player face first into boards.  It is the type of hit you don't want to see, but you live with as in the larger picture it puts fear into the opposing team. 

4.  I really liked the fourth line of Pakarinen, Malone and Kassian.  I felt like they brought a level of grit that teams are going to have trouble handling.  Malone is good in front of the net, Pakarinen has speed to burn and Kassian is well Kassian, a beast with a mean streak bringing the ice to most games.  They are the type of line that will hurt to play against.  Perfect for a fourth line needed to  change the energy of a game with a big hit or a strong cycle game in the opposing zone. 

5.  Ryan Strome is a really solid player 5 feat from the net.  He doesn't skate real well.  Isn't going to out physical anyone but has really nice hands close to the net.  When you combine him with Lucic and RNH there is something there.  I hope McLellan gives them a few games to continue to gel.

What did you see? Don't be shy.  Leave a comment. Will Yamamoto last more than 9 games?   

Until tomorrow... Stay COOL :)

Master Iceman

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oilers losing ways and inept coaching are leading me to drink.

I cringe every time the Oilers play Carolina Hurricanes.  I don't know much about systems or style of play except to say the hockey isn't pleasing to watch when Hurricanes are in town.  End to end rushes rarely happen, pretty hockey becomes a distant memory and games are painful to watch.  Generally speaking Oilers aren't always the best at winning ugly, gritty, you know it is going to hurt hockey.  Tonight was no different. 

5 observations In Oilers too little too late 5-3 loss to Hurricanes.

1.  Bad pinch leads to goal.  Too many men penalty.  Undisciplined play by Maroon leads to penalty.  Bottom line team not ready to play.  That is on McLellan.  Coach needs to do more to get his team ready to play.  Much easier to get a new coach than make a trade of consequence in a salary cap world.  

2.  Why Brossoit starting when Oilers season depends on Talbot finding his game?  You have lost 3 in row and instead of giving your starting goalie who was awesome last year the opportunity to find his game you play the backup.  If I am Talbot I am pissed and want to the net.  Playing bad, getting yanked is keeping me up at night.  I need to the net to get the stink of losing and sucking out of my head.  What the Oilers were missing tonight was the big save as exemplified by the 4th and 5th Carolina goals when team was making a comeback.  Grant Fuhr makes those saves.  Talbot makes those saves last year.  Brossoit barely an NHL goalie does not make those saves.  

3.  If the Oilers insist on having defensive dman on the second unit power play why not have Nurse instead of Russell.  We all know what Russell is as a defenseman.  He isn't going to suddenly develop offensive flair this late in his career whereas Nurse is relatively unknown as an offensive talent.  Neither has a shot but Nurse still has time to develop one.  With Sekara and Benning out give Nurse a chance to see if he can develop a little.  

4.  Maroon should be barred from shaving until he gets into a fight.  I just do not like his game.  He got played on the first penalty.  I remember having the same thing happen to me when I played college ball.  Some yahoo gave me a shot, ref missed so I returned favor and ref called foul of me.  Last year he was fighting anyone he could.  In your face, gritty hockey.  Setting tone with soft hands and raging fists.  This year he is an invisible man.  No power forward should ever be clean shaven.  

5.  I like simplifying Ryan Strome's game.  Let him focus on a few small things, go to the net, tip a puck like he did and bam you have a goal.   Same with Lucic, hit, work hard and shoot the puck. So important for secondary scoring to take pressure off Oilers top line.  

I am depressed.  Drank half a bottle of my bosses whisky that he left in my vehicle.  Cheer me up, what positives did you observe in this game?

Stay Cool,

Master Iceman

Saturday, October 14, 2017

This is torture, Oilers get embarrassed by Senators

Nothing cleans the ears of an athlete out like losing.  A good playoff performance, Vegas odds makers saying Stanley Cup favorites and a good old fashion ass stomping of the hated Calgary Flames on opening night made the Oilers as deaf as an iceman working next to ice makers in the middle of the busy season.  When I say deaf I mean to what the coach is preaching.  Hard work, making the right plays, paying the price needed to win.  Losing to Canucks and Jets, back to back, better than Chinese candles to clearing up all that positive press clippings buzz getting in the way of what McLellan, the Oilers coach must of been preaching about how hard winning is... in theory that is... 

5 Observations in Oilers loss to the Ottawa Senators 

1.  Maroon Mr Invisible,  needs to get into a fight since he isn't scoring.  Like I always say, when notating else is working reach out and punch someone.  At least if he fights he can do something with the hands that seem to have lost the magic they had the year before.  I love Big Rig but whatever scoring touch he had last year is gone.  It is time for him to get off McDavid's line and have to earn his way back on it.  

2.  Do the Oilers have any shooters?  None of the defense have a shot that keeps goalies up at night which is a problem considering opposing teams just collapse down to handle the cycle down low.  The Oilers d could take a 100 shots and not score once.  None of the forwards or centers minus Draisailt who was out against the Senators have a shot of note.  They get the puck, gather for a wrist shot giving the goalie time to adjust and get ready.  Oilers have lots of greater passers but no shooters.  

3.  Talbot is not making the big save.  If opposing teams get a good look on Talbot they score.  He isn't in the zone, looks depressed in the net.  Someone needs to get him a shrink or a detective to find his confidence.  It has gone missing.

4.  I bet Darnell Nurse can bench press a lot.  He seems to bench press opposing players into the boards with reckless abandon.  If only he had a shot.  His offensive skillset is brutal.  Just brutal. 

5.  Yamamoto looks like an NHL player.  The passivity I saw in the first two games has disappeared where it looks like he is just learning to play hockey.  It don't matter if it is in the WHL or NHL, the game is still the same.  Get your nose dirty, go hard to the net and don't be afraid to fail.  I'd like to see him find some open spots in the slot to get a good shot.  Still think he would do with another year in Junior but there is a player there.  

Pretty depressing game for an Oilers addict like myself.  What did you see?  Wife said watching the game was torture. I had to turn it off at 6-0.  Wife begged me to stop watching it.  

Master Iceman

Monday, October 9, 2017

Oilers play cute and lose to Winnipeg Jets.

Khaira is one of my favorite players when he doesn't don the cloak of invisibility.  He is the type of player that needs to reach out and hit or punch someone regularly.  In Vancouver you could of put him on a milk carton as he was missing in action which is why against a big bruising team like Winnipeg he is not playing.  Here is hoping Khaira learns to bring the ice soon!

5 observations in Edmonton Oilers 5-2 loss to Winnipeg Jets

1.  Cute hockey scores goals but does not win hockey games.  Sure McDavid swooping in like a bird of prey on Josh Morrissey, taking the puck and feeding Draisailt for the GOAL looks great but for every cute play that worked the last two games, there was a half dozen that didn't work.  Finally Mcllelan broke up 97 and 29 ending cute hockey.  It was too late for this game but it sure woke the team up to the style of hockey needed to win in this league.  Hard skating, hit, go to the net hockey.  First time Draisailt looked awake.  Pay the man a fortune, it is about time Mcllelan gave him his own line.  Maybe next time Draisailt will get some better players on his wing.

2.  Yamamoto actually made an appearance.  In the first half of the game he was competing for the invisible man award but as soon as I wrote him off he got a shot, threw a hit and actually asserted himself into the game.  Sure Yam wasn't great, didn't score a goal and took a penalty at the end but there was promise, a hint of something more.

3.  Am I wrong about Darnell Nurse and his offensive upside??? That pass he made to RNH, leading him perfectly on a breakaway for a goal was a thing of beauty.  Defensively Nurse's foot speed, ability to stop, start and change directions is AWESOME.  Nobody is beating that man on a change of direction.  On offense Nurse still lacks a shot that would scare a WHL goal let alone an NHL one.  Most times he seems uncertain with what to do with the puck but then he makes a pass to RNH leaving me wonder.  How about you?

4.  Lucic isn't scoring goals.  Isn't even a threat to score based on where he gets the puck, but the man is a bowling ball with anyone in his way a bulling pin.  You could teach a Newtonian physics class on watching that man.  Lucic gets the bringing the ice award in this game because anyone he pummeled is going to need ice, lots of it.  If you need ice in Edmonton, Alberta, think Columbia Ice.

5.  Tipping pucks is a lost art in the NHL.  Nobody is getting very good shots these days, at least on the Oilers with many coming from the blue line.  What is needed is someone with good hands who can tip pucks and get the dirty Ryan Smyth type player goals.  I haven't seen Thomas Vanek play much except for the nice tip of the puck he made last game against Oilers but that is exactly what is need.  Oilers just don't have anyone with a rifle of a shot to score from afar so the only option is a change of direction or rebound garbage goals.  The type of goals Maroon was scoring last year.  Maroon against Winnipeg gets the invisible player of the game award.

How about you?  What did you observe watching Oilers get their butts handed to them by the Jets?  Leave a comment here or on twitter.  @ernieiceman

Until next time, STAY COOL!

Master Iceman

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Oilers bully local bar owner and then get bullied by the Vancouver Canucks

Must be Karma.  Sick your lawyers on a local bar owner who wants to promote Oilers and still serve craft beer from local Alberta breweries, you get your ass handed to you by the so called worst team in the NHL if preseason prognosticators are too be believed  Click here to read story.

5 Observations: Oilers at Canucks Canucks win 3-2

1.  Even though Matt Benning was a pylon on the first Bo Horvat goal he had learned his lesson by the 3rd period when Horvat tried to go around Benning again only to be pushed behind the net.  For a small dman Benning can't let up for even a second.  The first goal of the game should never of happened had Benning been on his toes and been more physical with Horvat.  Saving grace in sports is learning from your mistakes and the young dman did just that.

2.  Just as Anaheim Ducks slowed down McDavid by being physical, taking away time and space so did the Vancouver Canucks.  It might of been McDavid's worst game as an Oiler as he never seemed to be able to get the puck moving with speed.  The end to end rushes that made all the highlights in game one against the Flames never materialized against the well coached Canucks.  Instead 97 was hit, bumped, smothered and harassed all night by a Canucks team that forgot McJesus was the chosen one.  It was extremely impressive and disappointing as  McDavid had no answer.  There was one play on the powerplay where his only option was to dump the puck deep and instead he tried to pass the puck through two Vancouver defenders across the blue line leading to a break away.  McDavid needed to be mentalily stronger, often displaying some of the frustration Crosby use to show when other teams would get physical with him.  Too often this game McDavid would get into tit for tat moments with that no name, never heart of before Vancouver player who made 97 a generational talent look quite ordinary.

3.  Todd McLellan is the reason the Oilers lost this game.  His insistence of playing Draisaitl and McDavid together makes the team easy to play against.  All you need to do is create one line capable of skating with 97 and 29 who have a physical flavor to their game and like magic you can greatly hinder the top scoring tandem in the NHL from scoring.  Vancouver did a tremendous job but McLellan made it easy by not splitting up the 97 and 29 up.  It makes me wonder if McLellan is trading short term reward for long term success.

4.  RNH still has trouble getting into good scoring areas.  His release is slow but I really liked his tenacity against the Canucks.  RNH, Lucic and Kassian was a handful for the Canucks and often the ice was tilted in the right direction according to the eye test last night.  I really liked Kassian on that line.  His speed and bumper car mentality means ice for opposing dmen which you know as an iceman I love.  Bring the ice baby should be Kassian's motto.  The downside to splitting up the 97, 29 line would be losing the chemistry RNH, Lucic and Kassian has.

5.  Oiler defense should get numerous opportunities to fire bombs from their perches on the blue line. Teams are compressing down to take away anything in front of the net to deal with Oilers dominate forward pairings.  This is leaving the defense at the top with open shots if they take them.  The rub is those same forwards need to become more proficient at tipping those shots from the point.  McDavid said he wanted to score goals in different ways and this is one way that can happen.  Pass to the point, low shot, tip of the stick into the top corners or through the goalies legs as the goalie opens up to stop the original shot.

What things did you see or observe in the game?

Stay Cool,

Master Iceman

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How many goals does bad ice cost McDavid?

I have said all there is to say about bagged ice.  If you need ice in Edmonton, Alberta then call 780-960-7161.  Ernie will be happy to take your order and I will deliver it.  I have decided to use this pseudo company blog to write about something much more interesting, people on ice as in the Edmonton Oilers.  Every game I am going to share 5 observations and hopefully you can share a few of your own or tell me how out to lunch I am.

Calgary at Edmonton October 4th 3-0 win for Edmonton

1.  How many goals does bad ice cost Connor McDavid?  Rogers Place is not known for having good ice.  On the first partial break away it looked like McDavid was trying to get the puck over the Calgary goal stopper but the puck didn't pop off his stick.  After scoring the second of his 3 goals McDavid had another break away where he looked to want to pull the puck from the left to right only to lose the puck.  I don't know if the ice factored into McDavid not being able to raise the puck over the pad of the flames goalie or do a left to right pull around but the puck bounces and rolls enough on the ice at Rogers to make me wonder.  For a guy with his speed and puck handling skills having good ice is a must.  Bad ice limits what McDavid can do.  The question I have and I hope the ice makers at Rogers have is how many goals does bad ice cost the Oilers?  When you have the skill the Oilers do good ice is a must.

2.  Yamamoto is ready for the WHL not the NHL.  I will give the kid props for being smart on the ice but he can't seem to be able to hold onto the puck long enough to do anything other than touch passes. Yam needs more experience to be able to use his agility to give him the time and space to be able to hold off bigger players long enough to do something meaningful with the puck.

3.  ...and I thought Eberle would get the Oilers a top pairing dman.  Strome is a big, slow forward who can play center with good hands, not much physicality.  A soft Maroon who can play center.  If Strome is the best Ebs could get then I can understand why Larsson cost Oilers Hall.

4.  Darnell Nurse is just a bigger version of Chris Russell.  Nurse does not have the natural offensive instincts or nasty to be a top pairing dman.  Nurse like Russell can skate well but like Russell isn't always so sure what to do with the puck when Nurse has it on his stick.  Russell pound for pound is a better hitter.  Nurse might be bigger and stronger but he doesn't know how to deliver those body crunching open ice hits.  His money skill is good position and foot speed.

5.  Night and day the level of organization on the ice between this year's Oilers and the last 10 years.  It was like watching a well coached team play the Oilers in the past except this time the well coached team was the Oilers.  There wasn't any offense to be had by Calgary.  Oilers weren't out of position, chasing pucks, leaving people open in good scoring positions.

Good start to the season.. what did you see?

Master Iceman

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Stop blaming refs for Oilers losing to the Ducks

I remember back in the day when I was playing basketball, we got beat down by 30 points and a guy on my team tried to blame the refs.  My response was refs don't cause a team to lose by 30 points.  In hockey the games are much closer, however the principle is the same you don't blame a ref for wins and loses.  That is what losers do.  They cry, look everywhere else for blame instead of looking in the mirror when trying to find blame for a lose.  If refereeing is an issue never let the game get into a situation where one or two calls by a ref can determine the outcome.

In reference to the last two games the Oilers played against the Ducks, the Oilers they lost because they stopped doing what made them successful after getting a 2-0 lead in game 4 and a 3-0 lead in game 5.  Instead of continuing to attack, realizing the team they were playing had a tendency to go on dominating runs when faced with a defensive, lets not lose style, the Oilers sat back and dared the ducks to comeback.  Of course, as is the pattern of the Oilers during the mad comeback the ref was put in a position to have a direct effect on the game.  Sure it is easy to say goalie interference but man you are playing with fire allowing the other team to have puck and players in close like that, hoping a ref will save the Oiler's bacon.

Both Oiler games 4 and 5 against the Ducks was PREDICTABLE.  You knew the Oilers were going to sit back thinking 2 or 3 goals was enough to win.  If this was the 80's the desire of 99 and friends to embarrass would of prevented either outcome.  99 unlike 97 didn't just want to win, Gretzky wanted to win pulling away.  It was an obsession to score as many goals as possible for those teams back in the glory years.  McDavid, Draisailt and friends seem happy getting a couple of goals and then hoping for time to run out.  They play with fire as hockey games are not usually won by playing less than a full game.  In Game 4 the Oilers thought they won after the first 20 minutes and in game 5 the Oilers thought they won after 40 minutes.

Stop crying about referees.  Stop looking for external reasons why the Oilers lose.  Winning and losing starts and ends with the players and coaches in the Oiler locker room.  Don't go hoping to hold on to a lead to a win. Play like you need the next goal, want the next goal, become obsessed about extending the lead.  Play desperate hockey at all times regardless of the score as if a goal is like crack to a crack addict and you can't live without the roar of the crowd that only comes with lighting the red light behind the net.

Master Iceman

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Breaking a bully's nose was a defining moment in my life

I was always a shy kid.  I let people push me around.  Didn't really fight back as I was always consumed with fear of life and people.  Vince was his name, he had spiked hair, glasses and big arms for a guy in grade 9.  The school I was at had a policy that you got suspended 5 days for fighting and anyone who watched a fight got suspended for a day.  The principle wouldn't break up a fight, instead he would video tape the people at the fight.  Needless to say in our school there was not many fisticuffs.

I don't know what snapped inside me that I decided to challenge Vince to a fight behind the hockey rink.  As soon as I did the kids who enjoyed a good fight became cheerleaders walking us to the area away from the school.  Vince cam at me smiling, went to push me and that is when I fed his face a left, a left, a left, he bent over and then I kicked Vince in the face.  Fight was over, Vince was down for the count and I was told by the crowd of more experienced fighters to take off.

Even though I called Vince later that night to make sure he was ok breaking that kids nose was one of the defining moments of my life.  I finally took a step outside of my shell of shyness and stood up for myself.  It was no ok that Vince bullied me and by breaking Vince's nose I was saying with a fist it stops now.

The interesting thing is 20 years later in our pink shirt anti-bullying world is I would of been told what I did was wrong.  I should of told an adult who would... I don't even know what an adult could do expect morph me into a bigger target as being a rat just encouraged more bullying.  Sometimes being a human is having to take matters into your own hands and stand up for yourself.  It wasn't an adult saying it was not ok to bully me.  I said with force it was not ok to bully me.

No I am not saying force is the answer.  I don't have answers.  It just is interesting how what was the right choice for me 20 years ago likely isn't the right choice for young people today.  When I grew up you punched the bully in the nose.  Respect was earned and then everyone went on with their lives.  Today... I don't know how respect is earned by telling an adult.

The Master Iceman

Friday, March 3, 2017

I miss you Phil Allen, you were a heck of a coach, an even better man.

It is always shocking to hear someone you knew passed away.  I hadn't thought about Phil Allen for years until the other day on twitter I noticed they had a Phil Allen Memorial award.  I didn't know how much Phil had affected my life till I read that.  For those that don't know Phil he was a heck of a basketball coach, father and promoter of sports in Alberta working on SAIT, Grant MacEwan, and Lakeland College.  His passion was unmatched and dedication to building quality basketball programs which with along with winners produced good men.

Frankly Phil was a hardass as a coach.  The type you want to play for but better be ready to play for.  On and off the court he took every aspect of running a good basketball program serious.  His players actually were expected to do homework, attend classes and act like university students.  You might of started out as an immature young man playing for Phil but you came away a young adult when you left his program.

The thing I liked about Phil the most was even the times when his passion for the sport got the best of him and it had negative consequences Phil never let it stop him.  He learned from his mistakes and used them to become a better man.  In life nobody or nothing is perfect.  Good people slip and fall.  The difference with Phil is he picked him self up with vengeance.  It made Phil a lot more relatable to me knowing he had gone through some tough times in his basketball journey and used those to push himself to be better.  For a young man, like I was when I knew Phil that was a worthy example how in life you have to keep on fight and battling. Mistakes will happen but you can't let those mistakes define you.

To sum up what kind of man Phil was... I was coaching a summers league to which Phil was the head of.  He actually lead the charge to get coaches like myself paid a little.  Not a lot but a little.  Any time I had a question, even if it meant calling Phil a half dozen times in an evening he was always patient, positive and supportive.

Phil you were a good man.  I will miss you.  I admired you a lot and the lessons you taught me in the brief time I knew you I took with me along my journey in life.

Master Iceman

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Update on erniebcools the ATB BoostR crowdsourced shaved ice cart.

I am in the process of getting the final paperwork done on a 7x14 foot trailer.  Going the trailer route instead of traditional concession cart as I would need a trailer to haul the cart around.  I wish this process had been faster but like anything else in this world paperwork takes time.  I am having to lease to buy a trailer as buying one outright means having the money upfront.

As for the shaved ice machine and supplies I honestly want to cry when I think about it.  I have two creditcards empty, ready to spend 5000.00 on a shaved ice machine and supplies but so far trying to find a shaved ice company who wants my money has been painful.  I should of known from my past dealings with American companies that it would be difficult for them to find Canada on a map let alone actually sell stuff to a Canadian.  Awhile back I went to Kansas, was checking into a hotel and the lady asked me if Canada was in the District of Columbia.  I said yes because in her mind the only thing surrounding the US was mexico and then the earth ended.  I have inquired multiple places, asked for a quote and am still waiting.  Going to try again.  It shouldn't be rocket science but apparently selling something you sell to someone with money to buy what you are selling is difficult for Americans.

My problem is likely that I expect people to email in a timely fashion which 3 weeks is not.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

There is only one ice company that can wear the Alberta crest!

I have gotten over the fact that for the past five years American owned Arctic Glacier has misrepresented Polar Ice, a company it bought years ago as Alberta owned.  If American owned Arctic Glacier owns a company in Canada such Polar Ice, Polar Ice is American owned.
Polar ice is NOT Alberta owned!
Sure it made me angry because being Alberta owned is our big marketing feature at Columbia Ice.  It is all the small Alberta business has going for it when competing against big, faceless American owned corporations.  You might think it would be illegal to mislead consumers about the location of the owners but our competition bureau is useless.  Rules are just words without enforcement.  I wrote a blog post, got angry and then got over it as there isn't any recourse for leaving a website up advertising something that isn't true.

I have also accepted that Columbia Ice will likely never be able to do the Western Canadian ice contracts of big grocery and gas chains who use buying power to get a better price.  Just after we built our ice factory in Acheson we got a call from PetroCanada wanting to buy all our ice at 45 cents a bag which is below what it costs us to make the ice.  Sometimes the dream, big contracts are too big.  Sure it makes me grumpy seeing these gas stations and grocery stores selling competing products from a US supplier instead of a Canadian but we don't have ice factories across Western Canada to offer another option.  

Today I was hungry so I went to Save-on-foods to get a sandwich and some milk.  I never bought the sandwich and milk I had in my basket after seeing a freezer full of  American owned  Arctic Glacier with a picture of the province of Alberta with the Alberta crest on their freezer.  

Even though Arctic Glacier makes it's ice for Alberta in Calgary it isn't even remotely Alberta owned.  Arctic Glacier use to be Canadian owned until it got hit with a massive 12.5 million dollar fine for alleged price fixing in the US , an issue it is still dealing with today.  When Save-On-Foods or Arctic Glacier puts an Alberta crest on an outline of the Alberta province on it's freezer full of ice from the American owned ice company, it is misleading to the consumer.  A lot of people in Alberta will go out of their way to buy products from Alberta owned companies.  It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside when you support local. When you see a company like Save-On-Foods and Arctic Glacier put a Alberta crest on their freezers it could make a person think Arctic Glacier is an Alberta owned company.

I know I am biased working for the competition to Arctic Glacier if a flea is competition to an elephant. It is just frustrating seeing our competition try to be like Columbia Ice and be an Alberta owned company.  So sad, too bad but there is only one ice company in Alberta that can wear the Alberta crest.  The same crest it's Master Iceman wore in 2000 as he traveled across Canada in the Canadian Naval Gunrun representing the great people of Alberta.  Columbia Ice, a proudly Alberta owned ice company.  Owners live in St. Albert.

Master Iceman

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

iSocket will text me if power goes out or freezer gets too warm.

Being the only full-time year round employee at Columbia Ice, a small ice company in Alberta I don't get to take too many vacations. The owners are older and have reduced mobility so it is a big ask to get them to handle deliveries while I am off.  It was early in the new year of 2016 when I hopped a flight to visit my brother in Vancouver for 3 days over a weekend.  In January I sit in the office waiting for the phone to ring collecting dust competing with the Maytag repairman to see who moves the least.  Nobody wants ice when it is minus 20 out.  It was the best time of year to have a vacation.  I had done all the deliveries beforehand and the owners only had to deal with the "my ice maker broke" business.

Power out melts ice
I went on my trip, had an interesting time and came into the ice factory the following Monday afternoon.  As part of my routine I check the freezer out and this is what I found.

image of melted ice due to power going out.
Power outage melts ice
 According to our Oscar, the refrigeration tech the condenser unit had a small leak, meaning the 404 coolant.  The leak was so small it must of been there for awhile Oscar told me.  It was dumb luck that it happened when I went on a 3 day vacation.  To us at Columbia Ice it was par for course with our ice factory.  More than once things had been wired wrong or not worked as they should of.  Ice bin wired backwards, new conveyor motor blew when we plugged in, first condenser unit was warped when it arrived.  A slow leak, that happened to reach the point where it tripped the freezer when I went on vacation, just fit with the pattern that we were cursed at Columbia Ice.

Lucky for us we only had 20 pallets of ice in our freezer to melt.  Unlucky for us it was 20 pallets of half melted ice in the middle winter.  My first thought was to put the pallets in the walk ways and either let the ice melt or break the bags open.  Problem with this was what to do with the water from all the ice.  It was apparent pretty quickly my plan was flawed leaving me with the only option to fill up our small back area outside, in minus 20 weather with 20 pallets of half melted ice.  I wasn't going to get rid of the ice till spring.  It would sit there frozen, causing everyone who came buy to ask what is that ice doing out there and for me to to explain what had happened.  A stupid leak while I had gone on vacation had cost us ~7000.00 worth of ice.

ice in hallway

I know how to google so I got on google and started looking for a sensor to monitor our freezer remotely.   I found a few options so I fired out a few emails.  I don't like talking on the phone so I send emails to see who really wants my business.  You would be surprised how many companies all over the world have not figured out how to email and the business they lose.  Luckily a gentleman at isocket responded to my email.

They had a product which not only would send me a text when the freezer went above a certain temperature but also if the power went out in the building.  This was a double bonus for us as in the summer during peak season we will run our ice makers 23 hours a day.  At times we get lightening storms which will shut the power off in the factory, shutting our ice makers off.  When the temperature is hot, ice flying out the door, the 6 pallets of ice ~2000.00 lost by ice makers not running due to an electrical storm can make us short of ice.  It means having to push client orders back another day, paying extra to get ice out of cold storage on short notice if possible or giving a little now and the rest later doubling our delivery costs.

It was a no brainer from a cost perspective.  For a couple hundred dollars isocket, a tool created in Europe by some really smart folk who will respond to email inquiries, will answer questions we had a simple, easy to install tool which saves us 1000's of dollars with a simple text. Best of all the isocket is extremely affordable.

isocket in action
How cool is that?

If you have an industrial freezer and need a remote temperature monitoring sensor I recommend isocket.

In my set up I use an extension cord because putting an outlet on the freezer requires me to pay an electrician and money is tight.  That said it would be trivial for any electrician to do.  Drill a hole in freezer, push sensor through, fill with spray insulation.

Of course with my luck when I went to help my brother move this year the freezer did not trip, no ice melted and thus isocket did not send me text telling me the freezer has stopped working.  Finally some good luck but I keep waiting for isocket to save the day.  I feel better knowing that now I can leave the ice plant and still be connected.  Best of all I didn't need to install a distributed control system or PLC or some complicated crap to make this happen.  isocket, a stupid simple solution to a costly problem.

The Master Iceman

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bad reviews ONLINE will kill your Edmonton business

I am done offering unasked for advice to our clients about the web.  Small business owners tend to be sensitive and think you are telling them how to run their business instead helping them succeed online.  They see a poorly dressed iceman who can't match his colors, not someone who because he prefers dogs to people and spends too much time online.  They don't see the guy who once got over 3 million views on youtube doing vlog videos.  Who observed and then built 13 social cobwebs using the techniques of top tubers who make millions doing silly little videos.  The guy who got pissed off at Yellowpages and learned to code to build website so he could say goodbye to the pages.  Utilized time tested techniques recommended by multiple SEO blogs to do better in search.  I have installed software in powerplants, trained engineers on how to use, even guided the development of a facebook app back in the day. When you are uncomfortable around people and in sales you have to figure out how to get those people to call you instead of you calling them.

A website without SEO is like a billboard in the Arctic. Don't matter how nice that website is, nobody is going to see it.  Reviews are a HUGE part of search engine optimization.  When you look for a hotel to stay at, it is the bad reviews you read.  They cost hotels and businesses alike in potential customers they push away.  Even more costly is that google looks at them when determining where your website should show up in search.  Good reviews push your website up in search giving you more sales leads and bad reviews push your reviews down meaning less sales leads.  This isn't me making it up.  Do some research and you will see I am right.  I don't care if you don't want to hear about it.  I don't care if it hurts your feelings or you don't like it.  Reviews are so powerful online that you cannot afford to get bad ones and when you do RESPOND, RESPOND, RESPOND and do whatever you can to make things right.  You swallow your pride, you suck it up and you kiss ass because every bad review costs MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

Social media is a HUGE part of search engine optimization.  Don't outsource this if you are a small business.  People like people. Show them pictures and videos of the people beneath the logo who make the business great.  You are small, your logo doesn't mean anything, it is those who work at the businesses who have to be the stars.  It is so easy to do now with smartphones that there is no excuse for not doing it.

AHHHH.. this is why I could never handle working in the whole web design, SEO world.  Big businesses know about this stuff as they hire the right people.  Small business owners are too sensitive, too busy, think their opinion matters when it comes to the ways search engine work.  Too often it is we want sales but only sales that happen in ways we are comfortable with like the phone.
Bad reviews and no real social media presence cost you sales.  Take it seriously.

If you like money, want more of it, then you will need to care about search.  If not, then don't and keep pushing potential clients away.

Master Iceman

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Want a menu item named after your Alberta Distillery? | erniebcools

A big challenge anything craft has is getting their name out there.  You go to a liquor store these days and it is hard to distinguish one brand of liquor or beer from another.  Usually people will just go with what they know so it is a battle to get people to try something new.  Working for a small ice company who competes against Arctic Glacier this is a battle I know all too well.  Go to most liquor stores, gas stations, grocery stores and you will find Arctic Glacier.  99% of the ice in retail in Alberta is Arctic Glacier.  The whole support local tends to fall on deaf ears.  It is incredibly discouraging when you offer a lower price, a new ice merchandiser, ice made from a local ice company, not an American one and still make no headway.  I can very much relate to how a small craft brewer or distiller feels as they fight the good battle to build a sustainable business.  It is this reason that I want to highlight local craft distillers with the liquor side of erniebcools, Hawaiian shaved ice.

Shaved ice named after your distillery!

I have come up with an idea which I know offers real value to local distilleries and one Alberta craft microbrewery.  For a 100.00 contribution to my crowdsourcing campaign with ATB BoostR I will use a local distillers liquor in one menu item and then name that item after the distillery.  Shaved ice is versatile where it can be used with liquor and without depending on the event the shaved ice cart is being used at.  I have a good relationship through my job as an iceman with the people who run the beer and October festivals in Alberta.  The International Beerfest, Edmonton's largest according to their website has already agreed to let me debut erniebcools at the event.  The other ABF beer and Octoberfests have contributed 100.00 to the cause and it is likely I will be able to get a booth at their events.    

This means 1000's upon 1000's of people will see local distillers name on our menu.  That is publicity and brand awareness you cannot buy anywhere in this world for a price as low as a 100.00.  If that was the only thing I was offering as part of having a local distiller becoming part of the erniebcools story it would be a fantastic value.  I am also offering to do a blog post on using keyword phrases that matter to craft distillers target demographic creating valuable back links, helping those distillers show up higher in search.  The higher you are in search, the more unique page views your website gets and this should lead to more people inquiring about the liquor sold at Alberta distilleries. I have experience in search engine optimization so it will help you get noticed.  

If you run a craft distillery in Alberta, want some good PR at a fantastic value then go to ATB BoostR and contribute a 100.00 to erniebcools.  Use a branded email if possible as that email address will live forever on ATB BoostR's website.  People will see that you helped build a local business and create new jobs in Alberta.   

This is an offer is only valid for local Alberta distilleries until the end of the crowdsourcing campaign which is January 19th.  I am only going to have 4 custom liquor branded shaved ice menu items prominently displayed on the front of the cart and one one microbrewery menu item during liquor events making 5 in total a beautiful prime number.  The menu items will be displayed on the shaved ice cart for one year's time with an option to renew each year for another 100.00.  After January 19th if there are any spots left open I will open the floor up to any distiller in Canada.  I want to be a vocal advocate for the best of Alberta but it is a partnership where Alberta Distillers help me out by helping make erniebcools crowdsourcing campaign a success.  

If that isn't enough to motivate you to pull out the company cc, contribute a 100.00 to then  you may want to consider the fact I interact with the people behind all the festivals, talk to liquor store owners regularly and people running events with liquor.  Having someone brag about how awesome the people at your distillery to those who retail the liquor is just good PR.  The best part is I am not an expensive liquor rep who you have to pay a bunch of money to employ.  I am just an iceman who as part of his day to day duties will get to brag to the people that could matter to your distillery helping get the word out.

Be a part of the story, be a part of making Alberta cool with erniebcools!!!

Master Iceman