June 10, 2010

Hockey Snacks’ Shinny is back!

Blog, I made a deal with Davie if the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup (which they did Wednesday night), I would bring back an old friend of his for the occasion. Retired in 2002, this little guy still occasionally gets fan mail. He and I hosted the weekly ezine of NHL humor, Hockey Snacks, from 1998 to 2002, and garnered thousands of readers.

It staggers me that some of them still ask me about Shinny, aka my left index finger dressed in a tiny Blackhawks goalie mask. Shinny interviewed all sorts of crazy characters back in the day, including the Buffalo Jumbotron, the Hockey Tooth Fairy, a scrap of Vezina’s pads, etc.
So, for Davie (aka “Snacks Fact Guy Dave”) and all you faithful fans, we welcome the return of Shinny. And this time, he’s on the other side of the interview desk!

Blog: Shinny, there are a lot of reasons to be happy the Hawks won the Cup, but I for one am delighted the event brought you back into the limelight once more.

Shinny: Blog, I’m just dang happy to have lived to see Stanley come to Chicago. I’m gonna have to hook up with the big guy while he’s in the Windy City if I can. It’s been a long time since he and I tipped back the bubbly together. And as for that sneaky puck that no one but Patrick Kane could see in the corner of the net...well, Snacks fans, remember Burger the Puck? He who once got caught in Flyers goalie Bryan Boucher’s mask?

Blog: One and the same?

Shinny: You betcha.

Blog: Wow that’s something! Well, we know you’re focused on that Cup win, Shinster, but there are a lot of folks around the Internet who’ve been asking after you. I guess a finger in a goalie mask can make a lasting impression.

Shinny: That’s really gratifying, Blog. Di and I haven’t forgotten all the Snacks fans who used to fill her email box with ideas for Separated at Birth (like Jeremy Roenick and James Woods), and who tuned in to keep up with the characters on The Real Rink (remember the Waukesha Western Box Turtles?), and who proudly called themselves Canuckophiles.

Blog: A term I believe you coined.

Shinny: Well, it’s hard to love hockey without loving Canada, Blog.

Blog: True dat, eh? Tell us one of your notable memories from the days of Snacks, Shinny.

Shinny: Well, I’ll certainly never forget when I got cut and had to have stitches. But of course, that sort of thing is life for hockey players.

Blog: Rumor was that was a bagel-slicing incident, and not actually from a skate in game-action.

Shinny: Well, when you’re a finger, people make assumptions. In the grand hockey tradition of keeping info about injuries on the d.l., I’m not going to confirm or deny that bagel business, Blog.  Another great time was when I got to work on the production of the NHL Naptime series of hockey cards.  Not a lot of fans can boast that they got to see famous players like Wayne Gretzky in bed.

Blog:  I hope not, Shinny.  Ahem.  But you know, a lot of people have wondered how it came to be that a finger got the gig hosting an ezine, Shinny. What’s the story there?

Shinny: Well, the boss started her website to promote her first two published books, and threw in some fun stuff like her collection of hockey stuff. Me in my tiny mask, borrowed from her Ed Belfour action figure, made an appearance. Her regular updates quickly turned into a weekly thing, and thus Hockey Snacks was born.

Blog: Were you surprised when you suddenly found yourself the star host of an internet craze?

Shinny: Aw, Blog, now you’re making me blush. “Internet craze”?

Blog: 6,000-plus regular readers was pretty good ten years ago. I think that’s like a thousand times what I get, Shinny.

Shinny: Well, you’re non-corporeal, Blog. Having a physical appearance helps a lot.

Blog: I’d work on that if I could, Shinny.

Shinny: But to answer your question, it was a huge surprise. The author was awfully new to hockey, she only became a fan in 1994. I think when she started Snacks she still hadn’t quite figured out offsides.

Blog: I heard she thought the goalie’s blocker looked like a stuffed leather muffin tin.

Shinny: Had never heard of Timbits either.  But before we were done, she was savvy enough to teach her cat Cake to play goal.

Blog: Hard to believe.

Shinny: What was really hard to believe was the fan response.  We got so much input and material from readers, and that was what made it fun.  The contributions people sent in to “Burger the Puck's Hockey Freaks of Nature” alone were worth the price of admission.  Like the Jesus Playing Hockey Statue.  Awesome.

So, what have you been doing for the six years since Hockey Snacks packed it in, Shinny?

Shinny: Well, I’ve been exploring a lot of other options, Blog. Typing...pointing at stuff...petting cats...testing the temp of hot liquids once in awhile.

Blog: Pretty eclectic lifestyle.

Shinny: Really, that was why we retired Snacks in 2002. Putting that much work into one subject was tough.

Blog: Same reason Diana retired her Erotica with Soul blog.

Shinny: I guess it’s hard to pigeonhole a writer who has focused both on hockey and on erotic romance.

Blog: Sometimes simultaneously, like in that “Je t’aime Etienne” story in Soulful Sex Volume II.

Shinny: Are we allowed to do product placement like that?

Blog: Well, we did it for Timbits. Timbits has its own tag in the right-hand column.

Shinny: True. Anyway, while we’re enjoying the eclectic lifestyle, with the romance, the cat-petting, the crafting, the pointing at stuff, it’s sometimes still truly fantastic focusing on hockey.

Blog: You can take the finger out of hockey, but you can’t take hockey out of the finger, eh, Shinny?

Shinny: Exactly, Blog. Those days of presenting Golden Finger Awards and writing songs like “Living La Vida Hockey” are some of the best of my life and I’ll never forget them. And I want to give a shoutout to the amazing Snacks fans out there. To any of them who find this post and used to read us, I hope they will comment and tell us about themselves.

Blog: Me too, Shinny. And what’s next for you?

Shinny: Well, hopefully pointing at the TV and saying, “Look, the Stanley Cup is really in Chicago!”

Blog: Amen to that, Shinny. Amen to that.

So there you have it, friends, and there you go, Davie. And I’d like to add one more thing: A big Happy 16th Anniversary to my wonderful husband, without whom I’d never have discovered hockey and the Chicago Blackhawks.


  1. You freaking kill me...but in a good way!!

  2. oh my gosh. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for bringing Shinny back, if only for one day. :) I'd "comment and tell you about myself" but I've already done that. Hehehe I remember The Real Rink and the hockey songs (an inspiration, and I have a few of my own)-- and who could forget Burger the Puck? Hahaha I think of him often and wonder what happened to the little fella.

    And would you believe that I actually OWN the Jesus playing hockey figurine? It was a gift.. which was brilliant and funny and inspired by Hockey Snacks. Of course. :)

    Thank you!

  3. This is officially hands down the best result of Chicago winning the cup. I LOVE Shinny and Snacks. I've definitely read them all. I had no idea that you became a fan in 1994. Me too!

    You and your writing, especially the hockey-related writing, are SO awesome.

    I second Sam's thank you.

  4. Thank you, Jen, always happy to kill in a good way! :-) Jen and Alanna, I still can't believe people remember Snacks like they do. If I had known back in '02 how much it meant to people, it would have been all that much harder to stop doing it. Of course then I wouldn't have had time to become a paid author! Well, perhaps Shinny will revisit once in awhile. Thanks so much for your kind words about Snacks.

  5. Pierre ChastenaisJune 11, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    Legends never say die, and I was thrilled to see Shinny come out of retirement to celebrate the Hawks Cup win! Now I just hope he won't come out of retirement on the case of oddities, like Leafs winning the Cup, or Di's favorite Guy hoisting the Cup as a head coach!!! All joking aside it's nice to see you back!

  6. Well, perhaps Shinny will revisit once in awhile.

    OH PLEASE OH PLEASE! Pretty please, with a cherry on top?

    I miss Shinny and I try my best to do Hockey Snacks tributes from time to time on my Hockey blog, but Shinny I am not. Though, if he might be available some time in the future, I'd love to interview him for my blog......

  7. Pierre, thanks! I like that mental picture of Guy...hoisting the Cup, or perhaps getting inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame! Sam, I think for you, Shinny could be persuaded to do an interview. :-D

  8. Ooooh yay! I better start thinking of some good questions for him. Hmm... I'll have my people call your (his?) people and set something up. :)