Month: September 2016 (page 1 of 9)

Jay Varady Tabbed Head Coach of US Junior Select Team

usa ice hockey

By Randy Schultz – NY Hockey Online

Jay Varady (Cahokia, Ill.) has been named head coach of the U.S. Junior Select Team that will participate in the 2016 World Junior A Challenge from Dec. 11-17, in Bonnyville, Alberta, it was announced by USA Hockey.

In addition, JB Bittner (Pittsburgh, Penn.) and Chris Hartsburg (Edina, Minn.) have been tabbed as assistant coaches.

Serving as head coach at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, Varady helped guide the U.S. Junior Select Team to its sixth title in seven years at the event. He was also the video coach for the gold medal-winning 2010 U.S. National Junior Team and assistant coach of the 2010 U.S. Under-18 Select Team that took second place in the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

Varady is in his fourth season as head coach of the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers. He has led Sioux City to a pair of Clark Cup Playoffs appearances in his first three seasons, including a record-setting 2014-15 campaign in which the Musketeers tied its franchise record with 38 wins.

Before joining Sioux City, Varady was the head coach of the Les Ducs D’Angers of France’s Ligue Magnus for two seasons (2011-2013). He also served as an assistant coach, associate coach and interim head coach for the Everett Silvertips in an eight-year span from 2003-2011. Varady began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Union College, during the 2000-2001 season.

Bittner is currently in his first season as the associate head coach of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. He previously served as an assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin (2015-16), USHL’s Tri-City Storm (2013-15), ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays (2011-13) and his alma mater, Ohio State University (2008-10).

Hartsburg is in his third season as head coach of the USHL’s Lincoln Stars after leading the club to 33 wins and a Clark Cup Playoffs appearance in 2015-16. Prior to joining Lincoln, Hartsburg served one year (2013-14) as an assistant coach for the Erie Otters and four years (2009-12) as an assistant for the Everett Silvertips. Hartsburg began his coaching career as an assistant with the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League in 2008-09.

NHL, NHLPA expect World Cup of Hockey to return in 2020

By The Associated Press

The World Cup of Hockey will return, without a doubt, and avoid another 12-year break.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr both confirmed for The Associated Press on Friday that they expect the next World Cup of Hockey to be in 2020.

It is much less certain whether the best players will go to South Korea to participate in the 2018 Olympics.

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel told the AP on Tuesday the odds of NHL players going to the Pyeongchang Games were 50-50, a slight upgrade from his forecast in May.

Later the same day, Daly said he felt more ”negative,” about the chances the league’s players will be in a sixth straight Olympics due to the International Olympic Committee’s decision to not pay for NHL players’ travel and insurance as it has in the past.

Fehr, who represents players who have made it clear they want to be in the Olympics, said he’s more optimistic than pessimistic a deal will get done.

The union head insisted he isn’t concerned about the IOC’s stance.

”Everybody understands that nobody’s going to risk their career and future earnings and all the rest of it in return for no compensation and no coverage,” Fehr told the AP. ”No one will do that. They understand that. That’s been a given for a long, long time. If it plays out that way, which I do not expect it to play out that way, we’ll deal with it.”

The IOC isn’t buying the banter.

”I think both sides are playing poker,” president of the International Ski federation Gian Franco Kasper, who represents winter sports on the IOC executive board, said Friday in an interview with the AP.

The IOC does not want to continue its past practice of paying for NHL players’ travel and insurance because it doesn’t want to have to do the same for athletes in other sports.

Fasel said it is his job to raise the money needed, which he estimates to be about $10 million. Fasel said he plans to ”beg,” for the funds from national Olympic committees and hockey federations. He acknowledged using some of the $40 million the IOC gives the IIHF to fund its programs, including development opportunities for boys and girls, could be used to bring the best hockey players to South Korea.

Daly said the NHL would like a final decision to be made by the end of the year so that it can set the 2017-18 schedule with or without a break midway through the slate for the Olympics.

The World Cup of Hockey, which the NHL and NHLPA teamed up to bring back for the first time since 2004, does not conflict with the league’s schedule because the games were played during training camp and early preseason games.

Playing hockey in late September, however, is not an ideal time to draw TV viewers in the U.S. in part because of interest in the NFL, college football and baseball.

Game 1 with Canada and Team Europe in the World Cup finals on Tuesday night – without direct competition from football – drew just 494,000 viewers on ESPN. A mere 297,000 people tuned in to watch Sweden face Europe in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon on the cable network. With a potentially interesting matchup with Canada and Russia, just 353,000 were watching hockey on ESPN.

Daly acknowledged it was a ”challenge,” to engage Americans enough to watch the event. It did not help that the U.S. and North American Under 23-teams didn’t make it to the semifinals of the eight-team tournament.

It was also, surprisingly, difficult to fill seats at the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs despite being in hockey hotbed even though the league said ticket sales went very well. It seemed many more people were interested in attending Toronto Blue Jays games when world-class hockey matchups and playoff-push baseball games were played at the same time.

The level of hockey, at times, was impressive. And, the atmosphere was electric when Canada rallied from a one-goal deficit in the final few minutes Thursday night to beat Europe 2-1.

During many stretches of play, however, the World Cup of Hockey didn’t do enough to fire up fans in attendance.

Days before Canada beat Europe 2-0 in the best-of-three series to win the World Cup, Canadian coach Mike Babcock seemed to sum up the situation best.

”The World Cup is great. It’s not the Olympics,” Babcock said in an unsolicited comparison of the two events. ”Let’s not get confused.”

Connecticut Splits With Team Russia

By Andrew Weiss National Women’s Hockey League

With the Russian National Team finishing up their trip stateside, Liudmila Belyakova decided to throw a going away party. Unfortunately for the Connecticut Whale, Team Russia brought the fireworks.

Belyakova scored the opening goal and Nadezhda Morozova added 24 saves as Russia defeated Connecticut 3-2 in the final preseason game for both teams.

Angelina Goncharenko scored the game winning goal on the power play in the second period for Russia. Yekaterina Smolentseva scored the second goal and picked up an assist while Olga Sosina added two assists.

Kelly Babstock and Kelli Stack each scored a goal for Connecticut. Nicole Connery and Haley Skarupa each chipped in an assist.

“I think in the third period we (started to) come together,” said coach Heather Linstad. “Their goalie played very well.”

New night, same strong start for Russia as they flew onto the ice.  Olga Sosina dumped the puck around the boards to Smolentseva behind the net. She found Belyakova in the slot unattended and Belyakova put it past a sliding Stock to give Russia the early 1-0 lead.

That same defensive breakdown for the Whale continued into the first. Team Russia managed four shots uncontested right in the slot, with Stock coming up big to stop the last three.

She couldn’t stop Smolentseva later in the first, as a Russian turnover at the Russian blue line turned into a breakaway. Fanuza Kadirova gathered the puck and sent it up to Smolentseva, who beat Stock five-hole to give Russia the 2-0 lead in the first.

Stock held down the fort as best she could as the period ended with the shots in favor of Team Russia 12-8.

The second period, however, was marked by special teams. Nicole Kosta drew a crosschecking penalty on Anna Shibanova with eight seconds left in the first, putting Connecticut on the power play to start the second.

The Whale quickly capitalized as Skarupa looped a pass between two defenders to Stack, who finished on the partial breakaway to make it 2-1.

The Whale continued to attack the Russian neutral zone defense, dominating possession for almost the whole period. They outshot Team Russia 11-7 and created multiple chances.

Their effort would go for naught, as Morozova locked down her crease with multiple pad saves. She was key as Russia killed off two more power plays before heading to their own advantage.

Anya Battaglino took a penalty after being pressured on the forecheck, and Russia setup by bombing the Connecticut net. Eventually, a point shot by Goncharenko knuckled its way over the blocker of Shenae Lundberg to give Russia the 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.

The Whale resumed their possession game early in the third period. After a series of extracurriculars in front of Morozova, Russia sent two players to the box for roughing to Connecticut’s one, giving the Whale a power play. It was further advantageous for the Whale when Elena Dergacheva took a tripping penalty only 19 seconds into the original Whale power play.

Babstock scored the 5-on-3 goal to cut the deficit to one with 3:09 left to play in the third. Connery took a point shot from Molly Engstrom into her gear but managed to swirl it in front through the crease. The puck bounced around before finding its way to Babstock, who found a wide open net and a power play goal.

The Whale continued to spare (spar?) the Russian net, but Morozova continued to shine on her way to being named the second star of the game. She stayed firm as Team Russia withheld an onslaught of shots in the final 1:30 with the Whale net empty.

World Cup caps Team Canada’s decade of dominance

By Chris Johnston – Sportsnet

There had always been something rooted deep in Canada’s hockey DNA that required our best players to flirt with disaster before eventually delivering glory.

We dug a hole in the 1972 Summit Series. We fell behind 3-0 in the final game of the 1987 Canada Cup. We had a loss and a tie early in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. We needed to play an extra qualification game just to reach the quarter-finals at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

And then this group came along and completely rewired what it meant to be Team Canada.

“Special, special players,” coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday night.

They will be remembered for a level of best-on-best dominance never before seen. In games featuring the world’s top players and the slimmest margin for error, they produced something approaching perfection.

Even in a tense and tight final series with Team Europe, where late goals from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were needed to capture the World Cup, there was a purpose and a belief and a level of execution that no other team in the world could match.

“You start these tournaments all the time and they’re always saying ‘this team’s good and that team’s good,”’ said Babcock. “You know in the end, you’ve got to deliver. And you can say anything you want about the game tonight, but we delivered.”

This group? They always do.

It goes much deeper than the 16-game winning streak they’ll carry into the next best-on-best event, which at this point is denoted by an asterisk and “TBD” on the international calendar.

Look at this roster. Look how these players have performed with a Maple Leaf on the front of their sweaters – whether at the Olympics, world junior tournament, IIHF World Hockey Championship or this World Cup.

Jonathan Toews is now 47-1-1.

He was the one dragging three Europeans in his direction on a solo short-handed rush just before setting Marchand up for the winning goal with 43.1 second left in regulation. He embodies the “we before me” spirit at the heart of this team.

“I think it’s hitting us right now how special this really is,” said Toews, wearing yet another championship cap. “All tournament the talk has been that there hasn’t been a whole lot of challenges for our team. That’s what it looks like from the outside. You ask around our team and that’s not necessarily the case.”

Sidney Crosby is now 45-5 in games with the national team.

Babcock referred to the captain as a “serial winner” after watching him get named tournament MVP and pick up his tournament-best 10th point in Wednesday’s victory.

“Sid’s unbelievable,” said Babcock. “You’re pretty fortunate to get to hang around with him.”
Canada’s dominance in best-on-best competitions since losing to the USA in prelim round of 2010 Olympics.

Then there’s Ryan Getzlaf (43-3-2), Shea Weber (40-2-1), Bergeron (37-5-1), Corey Perry (33-6-1) and Drew Doughty (31-3-1).

It doesn’t end there.

Carey Price is now 16-0 in starts at the World Cup, Olympics and world junior tournament, and had to be at his best for Team Canada to sweep Europe out of this final. The save he made on Marian Hossa in the dying minutes paved the way for a dramatic victory.

It’s little wonder why the confidence never wavered even as the possibility of a do-or-die Game 3 hung in the air.

“It was always one shot away,” said Bergeron. “It’s always ‘who wants to be that guy?’ And there’s so many guys in this dressing room that want to be in that position. We have so much talent in this dressing room that we knew all we needed was one bounce to go our way.”

At its core, hockey is a game of bounces played with a frozen piece of rubber on ice.

That’s why it’s unreasonable to expect any one country or team to have a run of success like this one. The game was born here and is cherished most deeply here, but that doesn’t grant Team Canada immunity from the things that can go awry when you’re in a must-win situation.

If we’re being truthful, it’s very likely this run of complete domination ends here.

The roots of this team can be traced back to the 2005 world junior tournament, where Canada crushed its opposition and started a golden five-year run at that event. Those players are now in the primes of their careers and adding to their unparalleled international resumes.

Even with a generational talent like Connor McDavid on the horizon, it will be a tall task for the next generation to go through tournament after tournament without so much as losing a game.

“The perception is that we’re miles better than everyone else,” said Babcock. “I think our country’s deeper, but you only get to play five guys at a time. … That’s what I said to the guys tonight: ‘I’m proud of you; I’m proud that we’re building hockey players to follow you, they want to be the next one. We keep celebrating success.’

“And the only way you get to celebrate being the best in the world is when you prove it, and so we’ve been fortunate to do it many times.”

We should all take a moment to stop and appreciate what they’ve accomplished.

Team Canada has won nine of the 13 best-on-best tournaments ever held, but it has never been such a machine. The perfect mix of talent and preparation and focus.

A rebooted World Cup came with new challenges – the September start, stronger hybrid opponents like Team Europe to overcome – but it ended in familiar fashion. With the Canadian flag being raised to the rafters and “O Canada” being played over the intercom.

“The game is getting bigger all the time each and every year, but we’re still getting better than every other country,” Wayne Gretzky said earlier this week. “Everybody always gets nervous and scared (wondering) ‘are we losing our game?’ But we’re never going to lose our game. It’s Canada’s game, it’s Canadians.

“I’m just so impressed by how much depth and how many good hockey players we have in this country now. We seem to be getting even better and stronger, which is pretty incredible.”

Whale Defeat Team Russia in Pre-Season Opener

By Andrew Weiss National Women’s Hockey League

The lights shone bright on the ice as the Connecticut Whale were welcomed into their new home in Northford. With the Russian National Team in town, former Quinnipiac stars Kelly Babstock and Cydney Roesler made the homecoming a rousing success, scoring a goal apiece as the Whale stormed back to defeat the Russians 3-2.

The Whale’s goals were scored by Meagan Mangene, Kelly Babstock, and defenseman Cydney Roesler, who potted the game winner with 5:27 left in the third period. Shenae Lundberg stopped 18 in her start, while  Nicole Stock finished with 10 saves in relief, picking up the win. Former Quinnipiac forward Nicole Connery added an assist, totaling three points on the night for former Bobcats. Molly Engstrom also chipped with in two assists. Russia’s goals both came from Liudmila Belyakova in the second period, while Russian goaltender Maria Sorokina made 15 saves in the loss.

Russia started off flying in the first period, outshooting Connecticut six to one after ten minutes of play. However, the speed of the Whale back-checkers prevented any golden chances, with both Ivana Bilic and Haley Skarupa breaking up odd-man situations in the throughout the period.

Playing in their first game of the season, the Whale quickly shook off their rust before Mangene scored the game’s first goal near the end of the period. Engstrom had her first shot attempt blocked before eventually regaining possession on a pass from Shannon Doyle, her defensive partner. Her second shot found the stick of Mangene, who deflected past the outstretched glove of Sorokina.

Her goal was answered by two goals from former Riveter Liudmila Belyakova, both coming in the second period. Belyakova found twine after a pass from Iya Gavrilova found her stick alone in front of Lundberg. The tap in tied the game for Russia, and they continued to pound the Whale net.

Coach Linstad sent Stock in to relieve Lundberg after the first Russian goal, but Belyakova continued to create chances around the Whale net. Stock left a juicy rebound on another Belyakova shot, which the Russian pounced on, putting the puck in the net for a 2-1 Russian lead and her second goal of the game.

The Whale penalty kill held firm in the second, with rookies Nicole Kosta and Connery both making strong cases to remain on special teams. Both rookies also saw time on the Whale’s only power play of the second period, with both shots in the two minutes coming from Connery.

The Whale would battle back in the third period. Kelli Stack and Anna Shibanova received matching minor penalties after some chippy play near the Russian bench. Soon after, the Whale found themselves on the power play as Yekaterina Smolentseva took a tripping penalty just 28 seconds into the four-on-four action.

This time, the advantage proved bountiful for Connecticut, as Babstock struck the back of the net for a power play goal. Both Connery and Engstrom picked up an assist on the goal.

“There was no one in front of me, so I had to shoot it,” said Babstock. “Or else,” she added, after a look from Coach Linstad.

Only 1:40 later, Connecticut took the lead on a goal from Roesler, the first of her professional career. “It’s a goal of mine to contribute more offensively this year than I did in college,” said Roesler. “It was great (because) I just whacked the puck to the net… (Stack’s) rebound came to me.” Her head coach agreed. “We want our (defenders) all the time to jump into the play and be smart about it,” said Linstad. “We established that in the very first practice.”

With only minutes remaining, the Whale refused to let the Russians pull Sorokina. Russia struggled to possess the puck in Connecticut’s zone, and the Whale pressed Sorokina with dump ins and shots until the final buzzer. The game ended with the puck behind Sorokina’s net.

Connecticut went 1-4 on the power play, while Russia went 0-3. The Whale will look to add to their impressive special teams this year after leading the league in both categories last season.

Linstad’s prognosis was certainly optimistic: ““I think we played fairly well. Obviously they had a step on us a little bit because they’ve been playing some games. For our first game I think we did a really good job of dictating play at certain times.”

Eriks Miluns will coach the Latvian U20 national team

By Martin Merk –

Eriks Miluns will coach the Latvian U20 national team for the remainder of the season after having started with the team and summer and will also be the team’s head coach at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto, Canada, 26 December – 5 January.

His position was formally approved by the board of the Latvian Hockey Federation.

The U20 national team will prepare for the World Juniors with a Four Nations Tournament in Austria, 3-5 November, where it will play Austria, Belarus and Denmark. On 7 and 8 December the Latvians will play two exhibition games against Kazakhstan in Riga before travelling to Canada where more games are planned before the start of the World Juniors.

Latvia will start the tournament in Group B in Toronto with Russia, the United States, Canada and Slovakia as opponents.

Imperfect Canada more than good enough in Game 1

By Chris Johnston – Sportsnet

In a best-of-three final, this is how Team Canada breaks your heart.

It will start slow and gift you a power play on the opening shift. It will continue to be sluggish, and cough up the puck too often, and open the door of hope ever so slightly. It will deliver its flattest performance in years … and win.

Like the kid who has everything, this group has a way of making all others feel a little bit jealous.

“You’d like things to be perfect every night, but it’s just not real,” said coach Mike Babcock.

What is real is the fact the World Cup is now within reach. Another victory on Thursday will give the country its third straight best-on-best tournament dating back to the 2010 Olympics.

This was as sloppy as we’ve seen Team Canada since the early stages of the Vancouver Games. It hardly mattered.

Coached by Ralph Krueger, the man who assisted Canada in reaching near-perfection in Sochi, Team Europe found a way to disrupt the machine. It forced repeated turnovers during the opening two periods and found itself an unsuccessful Andrej Sekera breakaway from tying the score heading to the third.

The visitors delivered their best.

“We had spurts when we let them outplay us,” acknowledged Canadian defenceman Drew Doughty.

Fortunately, there was Carey Price to cover over the occasional pothole.

A world-class bunch in front of him helped, too, as goals by Brad Marchand and Steven Stamkos both came in transition. Team Canada’s third of the night – which gave it a 3-1 lead at 9:24 of the third period – proved to be a dagger.

First Sidney Crosby almost banked a shot in from behind the goal-line. Then he grabbed the puck, spun off defenceman Mark Streit and slid a backhand pass through Christian Ehrhoff and on to the stick of Patrice Bergeron in the slot.

Imagine being a member of the underdog Team Europe in that moment. You’ve played a great game, got within a whisker of dreaming about an upset and the best player in the world dashes all of those thoughts inside three inspirational seconds.

Crosby now leads the World Cup with nine points in five games, trailed only by linemates Marchand (seven) and Bergeron (six). He’s basically got his hands on the MVP award already.

“I’m not going to say it’s the best hockey he’s ever played because he plays so well in the NHL all the time,” teammate Ryan Getzlaf said of Crosby. “But from when I’ve been playing with him, in the three (previous international) tournaments I’ve had the opportunity, I would say he’s playing unbelievable. Things are working for him now. He’s hot.

“Not that he didn’t play well at the other tournaments, he just didn’t get this hot.”

Team Canada has now reeled off a ridiculous 15 straight victories in best-on-best competition. Even the odd sloppy night is good enough to get by.

So now we’ll spend another day trying to calculate how Team Europe might possibly force a third game in this final series.

On one hand, Krueger’s team should be encouraged. This was its best game of the tournament and the Europeans managed to at least throw a hint of doubt into the outcome.

Despite that, however, they failed to get the job done.

“We’re here to continue to grow and to learn and evolve, and we’re very angry right now, which is a good thing,” said Krueger.

They’ve now had two cracks at Team Canada and can perhaps find a flaw or two heading into the third matchup. There really aren’t any secrets at this point.

Of course, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see Canada’s puck possession game get so disrupted on Thursday. The hallmark of this team is execution and it’ll adjust too.

“Well they’re just patient,” Crosby said of Team Europe. “They sit back a lot. When they do get a turnover, they have some guys who can skate and they come back at you pretty quickly. It’s just a matter of making sure we make good decisions with the puck.

“Just high percentage plays and we did that when we had opportunities.”

There had to be a strange sense of satisfaction in going back to the hotel with the knowledge that a perfect run through this tournament was at hand.

They had dodged a small bullet, and come out no worse for wear.

“Well it wasn’t our best,” said Stamkos. “I think we realize that. At this time of the tournament a win’s a win.”

Particularly when you only need one more to finish the job.

NHL unveils 2017 Centennial celebrations


With the incomparable Wayne Gretzky serving as the official ambassador, the National Hockey League will venerate its history, celebrate its present and anticipate its future with a year-long Centennial celebration in 2017. 

The Centennial celebration will commence on January 1, 2017, in Toronto with the NHL Centennial Classic™ outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at BMO Field. It will witness the unveiling of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles Jan 25-27. And it will visit every NHL market and dozens of other local hockey communities during a 12-month festival of events and content initiatives culminating with the anniversary of the League’s founding on Nov. 26 and first games on Dec. 19.

Gretzky, the League’s all-time leading scorer and holder of dozens of NHL records, will make appearances at various events throughout the calendar year in his role as Centennial Ambassador. 

“A century of great players, great plays and great moments deserves a year-long celebration, and we invite everyone to join our party in 2017,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We are delighted that Wayne Gretzky — whose spectacular contributions on the ice matched his immeasurable graciousness and popularity off the ice — will serve as our Centennial’s official ambassador as we honor all the drama, suspense, excitement and memories that have thrilled the best fans in sports for generations.” 

“I am honored to serve as the NHL’s Centennial Ambassador and to help the League celebrate its first 100 years,” Wayne Gretzky said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I have long revered the history of our game and the players, coaches and executives who built the League before I was fortunate enough to enter it. And it is no secret that I remain an avid fan who watches games every night and marvels at the young players who are leading the greatest sport in the world into the League’s next century.

“As I’ve said countless times, I owe just about everything I now have in my life to the game of hockey and the National Hockey League. And I am thrilled to spend the next year celebrating its past, present and future with hockey fans around the world.”


Jan. – Dec. — NHL Centennial Truck Tour 
Jan. – Dec. — NHL Time Capsule 
Jan. 1 — NHL Centennial Classic™ (Toronto, Ont.) 
Jan. 2 — Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (Pasadena, CA) 
Jan. 2, 2017 — Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® (St. Louis, MO)
Jan. 27-29, 2017 — NHL® All-Star (Los Angeles, CA)
Feb. 25, 2017 — Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ (Pittsburgh, PA)
Mar. 15-18 — Stanley Cup® 125th Anniversary Celebrations (Ottawa, Ont.)
June 2017 — NHL Awards™ (Las Vegas, NV) 
Jun. 23-24 — 2017 NHL Draft™ (Chicago, IL) 
Nov. 26 — NHL 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the League 
Dec. 19 — NHL 100th Anniversary of the First Games Played 

The Centennial celebrations will culminate with special events in the League’s birthplace, Montreal, and the site of the League’s first-ever game – Ottawa, in November and December, respectively. Details on these events will be announced at a later date.


NHL Centennial Truck Tour (January – December, 2017; all NHL markets + other local communities) 
The Centennial will reach and engage each NHL market with a traveling Truck Tour. The Centennial Tour footprint will consist of three main components: a 53-foot museum truck that includes an interactive interior with original video content, exclusive memorabilia, and fan activations; a second 53-foot trailer with giant video screen for viewing parties and stage for player and alumni appearances; and a pop-up synthetic rink for youth hockey games and clinics. The Tour will launch on January 1 at the NHL Centennial Classic™ in Toronto and travel across North America during the year.

NHL Centennial Classic™ (Sunday, Jan. 1, 3:00 p.m. ET, BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.) 
To launch the 2017 Centennial celebrations, the League will host an outdoor game at BMO Field featuring an Original Six™ match-up between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs; and the 100 Greatest Players from the NHL’s early years (1917-1967) will be unveiled and honored in a special ceremony. 

Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (Monday, Jan. 2; Pasadena, CA) 
The League and the Los Angeles Kings – who are celebrating their 50th anniversary – will have a hockey-themed float in the renowned Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. The float will air during NBC’s Rose Parade coverage leading into the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. 

100 Greatest NHL Players and Gala (January, 2017) 
A blue ribbon panel of distinguished members from across the hockey community – including former and current executives, media members, and NHL alumni – have voted for the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history. Following the initial unveiling of the 100 Greatest Players from the NHL’s early years (1917-1966) at the NHL Centennial Classic™, the remaining players will be unveiled at a special ceremony in Los Angeles during NHL All-Star weekend. Current day all-stars will be joined by the all-time greats in Los Angeles for the largest gathering of NHL stars in one location in League history. 

Stanley Cup Celebrations (March 15-18, 2017; Ottawa, Ont.)
Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the donation of the Stanley Cup® by Lord Stanley of Preston, the League will support the Ottawa Senators in collaboration with ‘Canada 150’ with special events commemorating the most revered trophy in all sports. For more information visit 

Documentaries (March 2017; November 2017) 
A Stanley Cup® documentary chronicling the rich and unique history of the iconic trophy will be released during the celebrations in Ottawa. Following that, an overarching documentary covering the key moments and milestones in the League’s 100-year history will be released during the League’s 100th birthday celebrations in November. 

100 Iconic NHL Moments (Fall, 2017) 
The most iconic moments – goals, games, the odd and unusual, and seminal events in history will be unveiled in Fall, 2017. 

NHL Time Capsule (January – December, 2017) 
Each day, milestones throughout the League’s 100-year history will be shared with fans across all platforms – online, broadcast, and social – with original stories and videos.

Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate Centennial Anniversary with season full of events on and off the ice


The 2016-17 NHL season will mark the Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Season presented by Molson Canadian and the team will celebrate the historic occasion with a year full of events that honours Leafs legends, commemorates key moments in club history and engages fans of all ages.

The club announced its anniversary initiatives at the Hockey Hall of Fame today, including the unveiling of a special centennial logo, as Brendan Shanahan, Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor, helped open a special Centennial Anniversary exhibit.

“The Maple Leafs Centennial Anniversary comes at a very special time in the team’s history,” said Shanahan. “It allows us to look back and celebrate the great players, accomplishments and special memories of one of the most important franchises in hockey, but at the same time, look ahead to the next 100 years and the start of an exciting new chapter in team history.”

In addition to the Centennial Anniversary logo that was unveiled, featuring the Maple Leafs new logo in silver with the number 100 displayed, the team announced a series of initiatives and events that will last throughout the season, including:

•The Toronto Maple Leafs will create new banners to hang in Air Canada Centre to pay tribute to the players that have had their numbers honoured. Beginning this summer and throughout the season, the 18 original Air Canada Centre banners will be delivered to the hometowns that produced these players, the greatest in our franchise’s history.

•In the fall, the Leafs will play pre-season games in three (Non-NHL) Canadian cities to give those fans the opportunity to see the team in their own town. On September 26, the Leafs will face the Ottawa Senators in Halifax in pre-season action followed by a tilt versus the Buffalo Sabres in St. Catharines on September 29 and a matchup against the Detroit Red Wings in Hamilton on October 7. Further details, including ticket on-sale dates, will be announced later this month.

•In October, the team will officially add the latest players to Legends Row, as the statues for Dave Keon, Tim Horton and Turk Broda are publicly unveiled and the three players are immortalized alongside the other Leaf greats featured on the monument including Ted Kennedy, Darryl Sittler, Johnny Bower, Borje Salming, George Armstrong, Syl Apps and Mats Sundin.

Over the course of the next three months, a committee made up of prominent members of the hockey community will determine the official list of the 100 greatest players in Toronto Maple Leafs history. The One Hundred, along with many more Leafs, will be honoured throughout the Centennial season.

•As previously announced, the Maple Leafs will play host to the NHL Centennial Classic on Sunday, January 1, 2017 at BMO Field as they play host to the Detroit Red Wings in an outdoor game to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary for both the Maple Leafs and the NHL. The Maple Leafs will wear commemorative NHL Centennial Classic uniforms to mark the occasion. As part of the NHL Centennial Classic, the league will announce the players in their Top 100 of all-time who played in the first 50 years of NHL history.

•The Maple Leafs Centennial festivities will also include an alumni game between the past great players for the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings. The game (date and time to be announced) will see the Leafs alumni team wear special uniforms featuring the team’s Centennial Anniversary logo.

•As part of the NHL Centennial Classic week, the team will host a number of activities to celebrate the anniversary, and the game of hockey, including a New Year’s Eve party and public skates on the ice surface at BMO Field.

•In addition to wearing the new Maple Leafs uniforms all season that were unveiled at the 2016 NHL Draft, featuring the team’s new logo, the club will pay tribute to its heritage by wearing Toronto St. Pats uniforms for its home date against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The franchise was called the St. Pats from 1919-1927 before being renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs by Conn Smythe.

Further details on many of the Maple Leafs Centennial Season initiatives will be announced over the coming weeks leading up to the start of the season.

“We’re excited to share some of the initiatives that will make up the Maple Leafs Centennial anniversary but there will also be many surprises throughout the season that our fans can look forward to, including a historic opening night celebration,” said Shanahan. “We look forward to sharing this special year with our fans.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs will open their 2016-17 Centennial Anniversary season on Wednesday, October 12 in Ottawa against the Senators before returning to Toronto for their home opener on Saturday, October 15 against the visiting Boston Bruins. The Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial celebrations will conclude on the club’s 100th birthday, which falls on December 19, 2017.

Riveters Split Series With Team Russia

By Rich Furlong National Women’s Hockey League

As if the jet lag had suddenly worn off, Team Russia came to life last night in their second and final bout with the New York Riveters.

It wasn’t lack of effort by the Riveters, as the team actually out-shot Team Russia 35-24 in the game. However, 19 year-old Russian netminder Nadezhda Morozova had an answer for just about everything the Riveters had to throw at her, only allowing one goal for a .971 save percentage on the night.

Team Russia came out flying, and was able to capitalize on their third shot of the game, only 3:12 into the first period as the shot trickled past Riveters goaltender Katie Fitzgerald. Michelle Picard made a valiant effort to stop the puck from crossing the goal line, but was just a little too late on the play.

The Riveters would push back, but the team’s momentum was impeded by back-to-back penalties from Courtney Burke and Kaleigh Fratkin, and the period ended with New York down 1-0.

Failed chances for the Riveters on the power play opportunities was the story of the second. Team Russia took 3 penalties in the period which led to a plethora of scoring chances for New York. But between Team Russia’s ability to block shots and Morozova’s stellar performance in net, the Riveters were unable to capitalize, despite having an 11-4 shot advantage in the period.

New York’s inability to score in the second would prove costly. Former Riveter Liudmila Belyakova scored on a Russia power play early in the third to put her country’s team up 2-0.

Team Russia would find themselves shorthanded four more times in the third period. This time New York would make them pay for it, as Amanda Kessel tallied her second goal in as many games to bring the Riveters within one with 4:30 left in the game.

Kessel’s goal would stand alone in the end, as two more penalties dashed the hopes on any last minute comebacks, and the Russian team would add two more goals (one with an empty net) as time expired.

“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Riveters GM and head coach Chad Wiseman said after the game, “the effort was there tonight, the legs definitely weren’t… We’ve got lots to work on and time to do it.”

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