Starting Thursday and running to April 16, it's the eighth Exclaim! Hockey Summit of the Arts, wherein some of the country's top musicians (Sadies, Rheostatics, Barenaked Ladies, Sloan, Sean Cullen and more among the represented) combine hockey and music, with donations to the Daily Bread Food Bank and the ArtsCan Circle.
JABS: This little thing of yours has grown up. Eight years, I believe. Why is it called a "summit", though?
Bidini: The Grand Council of Exclaimness came up with "summit'; the footmen can't be held responsible for that. But perhaps it's a nod to how the Morningstars plan to suck hard in the beginning, fall emotionally apart in the middle, then rally around a hairy Italian and god-fearing Christian to bring glory back to the home colours.
JABS: That's a long poke check from there to here, 34 years long and light years otherwise. What's this all about, for the uninitiated?
Stanley: But it really is the same thing, even if it only exists in the minds of 16 friends who have skated together for 10 years. It’s about trying to find those magical line combos that will turn it around and believing that this year will be different. The Morningstars have been in this tournament from the beginning, and we are all too aware of the fact that in a short three days, if it comes together, you can achieve a hockey glory that no musician really has the right to know.
JABS: So how many teams in all this year?
Stanley: 28 teams over 3 divisions.
JABS: What's the split between men and women on the teams?
Bidini: A smattering of women-- I'd say 8 per cent. BUT, this year has the first all-women's game - BlackHearts vs Golden Girls, 7 pm DeLaSalle Saturday. I think the goal is an all-women's div. at some point. The sport is growing like crazy. My wife is in a hockey school (she's a BlackHeart) and she's psycho into the game like anyone who gets into it as an adult.
JABS: So what would a visitor encounter -- when is there music up by the vending machines to go with the hockey on the ice?
Bidini: Music all times!
(Related: Bidini's Hockey Nomad Goes to Russia doc is replayed on CBC Newsworld tonight at 10 p.m.)