There was certainly no shortage of chirping between The NHL All-Stars and The Rockers before the Juno Cup hockey game on March 31. Animosity was high as the two clubs prepared to face off in this year’s installment of a fierce rivalry some compare in passion to that of the Sens and Leafs in recent years. Russ Courtnall, a veteran of 16 NHL seasons, wasn’t intimidated by his opponents.
“Well I played in Edmonton for the first Juno Cup and there would have to be a lot of improvement, but I haven’t seen them in two years so who knows,” he said. “Maybe they’ve all been going to power skating and hockey school.”
Hockey legend Paul Coffey, a teammate of Courtnall’s, was more guarded in his approach to this year’s Rockers team.
“We’re just going to go out and do our best; I think they’re a pretty good team. Cuddy thinks if there had been 30 teams when he was trying to make the NHL, he probably would have made it,” said Coffey, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. “He thinks he missed his chance, so we’ll just go out and try our best.”
Musician Barney Bentall indicated he would be shadowing Coffey’s every move. While he may have sung at his friend’s wedding 11 years ago, everything personal would be left in the dressing room when he put his game face on.
“That’s in the past, it might not count for anything on the ice,” said Bentall, who has a record due in stores late this summer. “What we lack in talent we make up for in attitude.”
Rumour has it the final score was 12 to 11 for the NHL All-Stars, though we were unable to confirm at press time if the game was affable enough to actually be permitted to finish.
Lucky Mary Cobham, who attended Saturday afternoon’s NewCap Radio acoustic showcase featuring Sloan’s Chris Murphy and Patrick Pentland, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform with her favourite band.
“They asked if anyone wanted to sing, and I thought they were kidding, but then they started scanning the crowd and I thought ‘Nobody will do this,’ and then they kept scanning and saying, ‘Anybody? Anyone?’” she says. “And I thought ‘Well, I could do it…but, no, that would be embarrassing.’ But my hand started waving in the air anyway, and it was embarrassing! What do you know!”
Cobham’s performance of “I Can Feel It” worked the ordinarily rigid industry-dominated crowd into a fist-pumping frenzy. Murphy requested those in attendance save their standing ovation until after the remainder of the pair’s show, before reaching into his pocket to pull out a crisp $20 for Cobham.
“It was fun and definitely something I never expected to do but probably always wanted to do,” she says. “It was completely spontaneous though, so it didn’t feel like a big deal. It was silly.”
Murphy was later informed Cobham penned last year’s Jay Ferguson tribute record, Songs in the Key of Jay. Her presence was requested again at the band’s evening show at Reflections, when she joined her hero for “Underwhelmed.”
“It was only a three-chord song, so it took a few seconds to learn, and Jay showed me the part that changes,” says Cobham, who is also a member of Halifax-based The Maughams. ”I have been teased daily since Saturday that I am either the fifth member of Sloan, that I am taking over Sloan or that I am replacing Jay.”