SICHL Awards Gala

Live from Toronto with a special guest host, the 2011 SICHL Awards!
by Brother Lee Love | June 24, 2011, 6:04 AM ET
Colourful strobe lights pierce the fog of the smoke machines as the hall fills with loud, generic techno music. The overly long introduction flashes on for what seems like forever, confusing rather than entertaining the assembled crowd. As audience members try to adjust to the sensory assault, it suddenly – mercifully – halts. A lone spotlight focuses on the main podium and a man in a bright pink suit emerges from the darkness. “Live from Toronto, welcome to the SICHL Awards show,” said Don Cherry with an assertive thumbs up, “stay tuned, she’s gonna be a beauty!” The stage lights again and fills with dancers wearing gaudy, bedazzled versions of each team’s jersey. Two women dressed as showgirls lead Cherry offstage as the chaotic dance routine begins. As jazzy show tunes blare, dancers leap and bound across the stage in a thoroughly choreographed nightmare of dance. With jazz hands at maximum oscillation, they eventually exit stage right as the music fades and, to polite applause, SICHL Commissioner Mark MacRae steps to the podium. “Welcome everyone to this year’s SICHL Awards show. I’d like to first of all thank the City of Toronto for hosting us...” [smattering of applause drowned out by a chorus of boos] “... and to the great Don Cherry for agreeing to host. This season has been a testament to just how great the SICHL really is. As I listened to parts of the Continental Cup final via radio on my sailing yacht, it struck me that we, as a league, have come so far together. Our shared history and drive to excellence have made champions of even the most unlikely and undeserving of people. And with that, I’d like to introduce the General Manager of your 2011 Continental Cup champion Philadelphia Fire Ants - Norm Donovan.” [Even more boos. Someone throws a brick.] Donovan saunters up to the podium carrying the Continental Cup, which many suspect has not left his side since it was won. “Thanks Skipper, maybe someday you’ll win one of these. Look, I know that I haven’t always been gracious in defeat but I just wanted to let everyone know that winning this Cup changes your perspective. On the game. On life. On the relationships I’ve formed over the years with my compatriots. It is with this profound introspection that I address you all today. I just wanted to say to all my fellow GMs out there that I told you I’d win this someday! You bunch of no-talent hacks aren’t fit to polish my trophy! I am the greatest General Manager of all time! Mike Franceschini can kiss my...” With this, Donovan’s speech is drowned out by music and he is escorted from the stage by security, still ranting. Don Cherry, resplendent in a striped purple suit with yellow polka dot tie, stepped to the podium. “Geez, what a piece of work, eh boys? Anyhow, let’s bring up someone with a little more class. I’m talkin’ about General Manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Doug Karnes. Douggie, where are ya?” Karnes takes the stage and stands next to Cherry, who continues, “There he is. This guy folks, lemme tell ya, is a good Canadian kid all the way. He’s been around a long time and this year his team finished with the most points – which ain’t easy over 82 games. So here Karnesy – the Commissioner’s Trophy.” Karnes accepts the large trophy and the complimentary thumbs up. “I just wanted to thank the people of Brandon, all of our fans, the players and coaching staff for giving it their best effort this year. Thanks.” [genuine applause] Cherry steps to the mic. “Way to go Douggie! Okay what’s next? All right, playoffs! Listen kids, when it comes to the playoffs you gotta have heart! I see a lot of these little French guys diving and flopping around and stuff and it just makes me sick. This next guy though was a beauty – even though he’s a Swede. So the winner of the Garry Curry trophy for playoff MVP was Loui Erikkson!” The crowd applauds as Eriksson gets up to come to the podium, but Cherry waives him off. “Nah sit down Louie, most of us can’t even speak Swede.” “I speak English” protested Eriksson in vain. “Okay what’s next?” said Cherry, ignoring him. He squinted at the teleprompter. “I can’t see that damned thing there, boys. What are we doin’? Ah okay, this one is my favourite award – the Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz Award for best enforcer. Ol' Schultzy was a tough guy no doubt. Boys I wish we had him in Boston lemme tell ya. Anyhow, the winner this year is a good Prairie boy from Saskatchewan, Darcy Hordichuk!” Hordichuk lumbers up to the podium to receive his trophy. “I just wanted to thank the fans in Vancouver, and also my opponents for allowing me to repeatedly punch them in the face all year long. Without them, I’d just be like some crazy guy punching the air or whatever.” [confusion, followed by some applause] "All right now we're gonna give out the Ray Bourque Award for best plus/minus. Now I won't say nuthin' bad about Ray Bourque who was a class act and a Boston Bruin, but jeez guys - you know what I think about this dumb-dumb plus/minus system. Just a bunch of dummies who never laced up a pair of skates in their lives sittin' there with their computers or whatever makin' up math. It don't mean nuthin'. This whole award is a big waste of time. So, here ya go. The winner is Roman Polak. He's not from Poland though, I think he's from Checkersylvania or something." Polak stands up and high fives fellow St. Louis Spartan Phil Kessel, but is again waived off by Cherry. "Sit down. You're lucky you're gettin' an award for this garbage stat, you're not makin' a speech. We've got real awards to give out." Dejectedly, Polak returned to his seat, cursing under his breath. "Okay let's keep this moving boys," continued Cherry, "next up we got the Mario Lemieux Award for most assists. The winner is another beauty of a player, lemme tell ya. From the Brandon Wheat Kings, the pride of PEI, Brad Richards!" Richards comes to the podium and is met with a handshake and slap to the back from a beaming Cherry. "I just want to thank my teammates for putting the pucks in the net. Couldn't have done it without you, guys!" [applause] Cherry returned to the podium and motioned for the production staff to hurry up. "C'mon guys, I don't want to be here all night. Jeez. Okay next up is the Mike Bossy Award for most goals. This one is going to Alex Burrows of the Whitehorse Huskies. Did you guys know he was a French guy? What kinda French guy has a last name like Burrows? He wears a visor though, so I shoulda guessed." Burrows stepped to the podium, frowned at Cherry, grabbed his award and stormed off the stage. [grumbles of discontent from French players] "See? Hot-headed like a French guy too! All right next up we got the Teemer Salami Award for Best Rookie. Now I seen a lot of kids come through this league but there haven't been many like this one. Even that Scotty Gomez over there wasn't as good when he won it, and he's Italian or whatever..." [Cut to an annoyed and clearly hispanic Scotty Gomez] "This kid's a good Canadian boy from right down the road here in Mississauga. The winner is from the Nova Scotia Schooners - John Tavares!" Tavares takes the stage and accept his award from Cherry, who tossles his hair like he's an 8-year old and hands him a "STOP HEADSHOTS" sticker. [applause] "Okay next we have the Ken Dryden Award for best goalie. I dunno about Dryden. That guy was some Harvard-eduacated bigshot or something and now he's a politician? Whatever happened to the days when hockey players moved furniture in the off-season and made an honest living? Anyhow, the winner this year is the same guy who won last year and if you ask me he might just keep winning this thing until he hangs 'em up. From the Edmonton Supersonics, Ryan Miller!" Miller takes the stage to loud applause. "I just want to thank the Edmonton organization and Mr. Franceschini for providing a positive, supportive work environment. It's a nice change!" [more applause. laughter from Franceschini. swearing from Donovan.] Cherry returns to the mic. "Oh boy here we go. Bobby Orr Award for Best Defenceman! Bobby Orr was the greatest defenceman who ever lived. All you kids out there trying to be good defencemen, you'll never be as good as Bobby Orr - sorry kids but it's true. Okay so the winner is Chris Pronger, a good kid from Dryden stuck playing out in Sweden." [applause] Pronger steps to the podium, "It's Norway Don, and it's not so bad. The girls are out of this world." "Hey keep your head in the game. All those years with my Rose and I never looked at another woman." "Oh yeah.. umm.. ", stumbled Pronger, "I mean, I'd never cheat on my wife or anything - that's crazy.. I just heard some of the other guys saying .. you know... but I wouldn't.." [Pronger grabs trophy and runs for his seat] "Okay I wanna wrap this up so I'm gonna give out the next two awards together here," barked Cherry, waiving off protests from the producers off-stage, "No no, forget the teleprompter garbage. I wanna get outta here. We all know the winner is the same guy let's get this over with. So the next awards are the President's Choice Award for most 3-star points and the Wayne Gretzky Award for most valuable player." [Mark MacRae comes on stage, but is waived off by Cherry] "No go on, get lost. People aren't tuned in to see you. I'll give out the President's Award. Okay so the guy who won both of these is that French guy from before, Alex Burrows. Here, come get em." A confused Burrows makes his way to the stage to thunderous applause. "Okay okay, he did a good job I'll give him that," admitted Cherry, "I wish more French guys were like him." "I just want to thank the fans in Whitehorse, my teammates, the coaches, General Manager Don Morrison and my family for supporting me," said Burrows, "I'd also like to thank the proud people of Quebec for not listening to this bigoted old man." Cherry, shoos Burrows off the stage. "Go on, go on. Even on this show I gotta work next to a comedian. Okay everyone that about wraps it up. I got copies of Rock Em Sock Em 78 for sale in the lobby, so don't be cheap. Big thumbs up to all the winners and see you next season!" With that Cherry abruptly leaves the stage, the house lights come up and confused guests slowly leave the auditorium.

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