Category: Olympics (page 1 of 15)

2022 Olympic Ice Hockey Qualification Round 3 Round-up

Poland earned a dramatic victory over hosts Kazakhstan to advance to the final round of Beijing 2022 ice hockey qualification

The final match of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Olympic pre-qualification round three Group H event was a head-to-head battle to decide which team progressed.

It followed both Kazakhstan and Poland having won their early matches against the Netherlands and Ukraine at the Barys Arena.

Kazakhstan were stunned in the seventh minute of the match when Bartosz Ciura gave Poland a 1-0 lead.

Martin Przygodzki doubled Poland’s advantage early in the second period, but two strikes from Dustin Boyd in a five-minute period saw Kazakhstan hit back to level the match.

Poland regained the lead early in the final period when Maciej Urbanowicz found the net.

Kazakhstan were unable to muster a response in the closing minutes, as Poland secured the 3-2 win to top the group and reach the final round of Beijing 2022 qualification.

Ukraine finished the group stage on a high by beating the Netherlands 3-0 to place third in the standings.

Britain and Hungary met in a decisive match in Group J in Nottingham with the winner also taking their place in the final round of Olympic qualifying.

Hungary took the lead early in the second period through Bence Stipsicz before Csanad Erdely doubled their lead later in the period.

Early in the third period, Britain gave themselves hope when Matthew Myers reduced the arrears to make it 2-1.

Five minutes later Janos Hari restored the Hungarians two goal lead before Istvan Sofron made it 4-1 and sealed Hungary’s place in the final qualifying round.

Estonia and Romania have already been eliminated, but completed their Group J campaign by playing each other in a dead rubber which the Romanians won 7-3.

Hosts Slovenia and Japan also met in a crunch Group G qualifier in Jesenice with Slovenia running out 6-2 winners in an entertaining affair.

Shogo Nakajima gave Japan the lead in the first period before Jan Urbas levelled for Slovenia in the second period to make it 1-1.

The hosts got off to a flying start early in period three with two goals in two minutes from Ken Ograjensek and Robert Sabolic making it 3-1.

Goals flew in during the final five minutes as Slovenia initially made it 4-1 through Rok Ticar before Nakajima scored his second of the game a minute later to give Japan hope at 4-2.

Ticar scored his second of the game 30 seconds later to make it five before Miha Zajc rounded off a convincing final quarter for the hosts to make the final score 6-2.

Miklos Rajna was the star in net with a 47-plus save performance.  Hungary defeat Great Britain 4-1 to secure a place in the Final Olympic Qualification.

Poland, Hungary and Slovenia will now progress to the final qualifier.

Each of the top teams from the final three qualifying groups will go forward to the Beijing Olympics.

Hosts China are already assured of a place and will be joined by the top eight teams in the world rankings following last year’s World Championships.

They are, in order, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, United States, Germany and Switzerland.

Croatia’s revenge

The Croatian players celebrate the game-winning goal against Serbia with 2:25 left in the game

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

Croatia beat Serbia 2-1 on home ice in Sisak thanks to a late goal from Luka Mikulic. With the victory the Croats won the 2019 Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 2 Group M and advance to the third round.

“The goal was but a moment in the game. It’s a nice feeling. It was a tough game but we were better,” said Mikulic, who scored three goals in the tournament.

It was a game full of scoring chances and power plays in which Croatia outshot the Serbs 31-29. Vilim Rosandic was another key player for Croatia with 28 saves and a tournament-leading 95.35% save percentage.

Croatia vs. Serbia was the anticipated deciding game for the tournament win. The two neighbouring countries faced little resistance against Bulgaria and Turkey in their first two games and knew which game mattered the most for the tournament win.

Tournament win, neighbours, mixed history, and a lot of known faces since the best Croatian and Serbian clubs play in the same league. There was certainly no extra motivation needed for the players. Croatia historically had the upper hand in these clashes and is ranked one place better in the IIHF Men’s World Ranking, however, Serbia won its only official men’s national team game against Croatia just last April when it hosted the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A on home ice in Belgrade.

The Serbs earned the tournament win and promotion back then. The Croats perfectly avenged that loss by winning on home ice and advancing in the Olympic Qualification campaign.

Serbian repeat or Croatian revenge – both teams were looking to deliver the answer early on and had their scoring chances. It was the Croats who delivered first and last.

Tadija Miric brought the puck into the Serbian zone, dropped it to Ivo Kaleb who sent it towards the net from a sharp angle. There Miric was on the spot to open the scoring at 6:09 of the opening frame.

The Serbs were not without scoring opportunities either and opportunities knocked in the 10th minute when both Miric and Fran Srketic were in the penalty box. However, the Croats were well organized and killed that penalty without dangerous moments.

Otherwise the Croatian hosts were mostly in charge of the first period and gave Serbian goalie Arsenije Rankovic hard work.

The Serbs increased their forechecking in the second period and had two power plays but the Croats continued to defend well. Eventually their work and patience paid off with 48 seconds left in the period. In a face-off at lightning speed by Serbia’s first line, Srdijan Subotic won the puck battle in the neutral zone, passed to his right winger Mirko Dumic at the blue line who fed a breaking away Nemanja Vucurevic, who tied the game at one to the joy of the small contingent of Serbian supporters among the 989 fans at the arena in Sisak.

Serbia started with an advantage in the third frame. After Stjepan Cizmadija was sent to the sin bin for a late hit, he was soon joined by a teammate due to a penalty for too many players on the ice. The Serbs took their time-out for the 56 seconds of 5-on-3, however, the Croats also killed that penalty. After a tripping call against Mikulic, Mirko Dumic had the next opportunity for Serbia with a penalty shot but his attempt went wide.

The Croats were the next to have a two-man advantage in the eighth minute but also the Serbs did a good job killing penalties. With five minutes left in regulation time the Croats again had the chance to play more than one-and-a-half minute 5-on-3 but also these penalties remain unused.

The teams defended their nets heroicly when they were a man short, it was the more simple situations with open space that created goals. With 2:25 left Croatia’s Mikulic and Dominic Rene Canic attacked along the right board. Mikulic passed Canic, got the puck back close to the crease and slid the puck past Rankovic.

Like the four previous times, Croatia will play in the second-last round of the Olympic Qualification also for Beijing 2022.

Their venue will be known once the other groups are over and will depend on the three qualifiers for the next round and the position in the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Ranking. Possible options are traveling next door to Jesenice, Slovenia, in February or the group in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. More will be announced later on IIHF.com

Romania progress in Olympic Qualification

Romania celebrates after steamrolling past Iceland 10-1 at Olympic Qualification Group K on home ice in Brasov to move into the next round in Nottingham, Great Britain

By Henrik Manninen – IIHF.com

A trip to Great Britain awaits Romania after blowing away their opponents during the 2019 Men’s Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 2 Group K playing on home ice in Brasov.

They sealed their progress to the next round after crushing Iceland 10-1 in the showdown for top-spot in the group K. With its head coach and half of the roster from Corona Brasov, the Romanian national team celebrated their victory in front of 1,200 at Olympic Ice Hall in Brasov on Sunday night. With three straight wins, 43 goals scored and only three conceded, progress was never in doubt.

Romania will next compete at the 2019 Men’s Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 3 Group J in Nottingham, Great Britain. Played between 6-9 February 2020, they will take on hosts Great Britain, Hungary and Estonia.

“We are very excited. We are always really nice to play against much better teams than yourself. I am really looking forward to it because I am pretty sure it will be a big arena and a lot of fans, British fans are also really loud, so it will be a really nice experience. It´s also a really good way to prepare for the World Championships,” said Romania´s captain Roberto Gliga.

Eight different scorers with four goals scored in power play sealed a convincing victory against Iceland in Group K. Tournament top-scorer Balazs Peter tallied 2+3. Zsombor Molnar had two goals and an assist, while blueliner Attila Goga and forward Csanad Fodor both got a goal and two assists each.

During the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A in Romania´s Galati, Iceland had blanked Romania in a shock 2-0 victory. Kristjan Kristinsson was one of Iceland´s scorers during that memorable win. Two and half years later, he once again faced Romania who since moved up to another level and is now in Division IA while Iceland play in Division IIB

“It was hard, really hard tonight. They are used to play a lot of games. We in Iceland play a 16-game league, so the stamina is different. Romania was really strong on the puck. They were just really good,” said Kristinsson.

Despite having scoring 33 goals against Israel and Kyrgyzstan during Olympic Qualification in Brasov, the Romanian team had been slow in getting into gear during their two previous games. Against Iceland, they had to wait until 11:11 before they got their opener. Former forward turned defenceman, Pavlo Borysenko unleashed a wrister from the blueline right at Iceland´s bench which found its way past a screened Dennis Hedstrom in the Iceland net.

Iceland´s Bjarki Johannesson was serving a two-minute minor when less than four minutes left of the frame Anton Butochnov poached in front of the net from a Fodor feed. Peter tapped home 3-0 and soon after scored his second of the evening 23 seconds before the buzzer for the first intermission. Gliga cheekily tapped the puck forward when winning the draw and hit a pass across the crease to Peter for slot home Romania´s fourth unanswered strike.

Iceland who during yesterday´s day off had paid a visit to Dracula´s castle in nearby Bran, showed little bite during the middle frame as Romania steamed ahead.

Molnar added Romania´s fifth at 22:55 before Romania converted on three straight powerplay goals. At 29:04 Goga lifted in 6-0 from the slot after Hedstrom had made the initial save. Romania´s seventh came just over two minutes later. Goalie Patrik Polc got an assist, as he picked out Peter waiting on the offensive blueline who fed the puck to Molnar who converted. Yevhen Yemelianenko then boomed home a one-timer from the top slot for number eight at 37:33.

Heading into the third period, Romania continued to win their battles and kept pressing Iceland in their own zone. Eduard Casaneanu and Balazs Gajdo both had attempts in the slot before Fodor fired home 9-0 at 45:53. Fodor then weighed up his options behind Hedstrom´s net, picked out an onrushing Vitali Kirichenko who hit home via the post for double digits at 51:16.

Iceland netted a late consolation when Kristinsson won a battle along the boards with Yemelianenko as Egill Birgisson ruined Polc´s shutout bid with 2:45 left of the game.

With an intensive league schedule ahead, Romania now keep fingers crossed that their current crop of players will stay injury-free ahead of the next round of Olympic Qualifiers. In Nottingham they also hope to be boosted by Daniel Tranca who missed the Iceland game due to illness as well as Tamas Reszegh and Szilard Rokaly, a duo who played a key role when Romania won gold at the 2019 World Championship Division IB.

For Iceland, their young team will leave Romania richer in experience as a big season continues for Icelandic hockey with both the 2020 Men´s World Championship Division IIB and the 2020 Women´s World Championship Division IIB being hosted in Iceland later on this season.

Chinese Taipei into second round of Beijing 2022 Olympic ice hockey qualification

Kyrgyzstan progressed to the second round of pre-qualifying

Chinese Taipei booked their place in the second round of pre-qualification for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic ice hockey tournament by topping their group in China.

Victories in their first two matches at the TUS Ice and Snow Park in Sanya saw Chinese Taipei move to the brink of advancing.

Chinese Taipei secured first place in Group O by recording a hard fought 7-5 win over Hong Kong.

Thailand finished as runners-up by overcoming Kuwait 11-1.

Chinese Taipei will now participate in Group L next month in the second stage of pre-qualification.

They will join Mexico, the Netherlands and hosts Spain in Barcelona.

Kyrgyzstan will also compete in the second round after winning Group N in Luxembourg.

Victory over the host nation ensured Kyrgyzstan of progression with a match to spare.

Kyrgyzstan recorded a third straight win when they overcame winless Bosnia and Herzegovina 15-3 today, while United Arab Emirates finished second after edging Luxembourg 5-4.

Kyrgyzstan will immediately turn their attentions to preparing for the second stage of qualification next month.

They will go up against Iceland, Israel and hosts Romania in Brasov.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey will contest the third group in Sisak.

The winners of the three qualification groups will advance to the penultimate stage of qualification to Beijing 2022.

Road to Olympics set

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The 2019 IIHF Annual Congress approved the qualification criteria for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games men’s ice hockey tournament in Beijing.

Like for 2018, the top-8 countries of the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Ranking will be automatically qualified together with host China. These are: Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, USA, Germany and Switzerland. In 2022 the same format will be used for the 12-team tournament with three groups consisting of four teams each. The seeding will be made next year according to the 2020 IIHF Men’s World Ranking.

The qualified teams and the Olympic Qualification for the 10-team 2022 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament will be determined in a year and based on the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Ranking that will be established following the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Canada.

In total a record number of 46 countries who applied to enter a men’s team for the Olympics are eligible to participate in the qualification process, meaning 37 countries will battle it out for the three remaining spots in the 2022 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament.

The Olympic Qualification will be held in four stages starting in November 2019 with tournaments in Luxembourg and Hong Kong. The tournament winner of each group will advance to the next rounds until the Final Olympic Qualification as the fourth and last stage, which will be held 27 to 30 August 2020 keeping the possibility open for NHL players to join their countries.

The hosts of the 11 qualification tournaments were determined according to the seeding based on the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Ranking, meaning the top-seeded team of each group had the right to host before it would be offered to the next teams in the seeding.

The Final Olympic Qualification will take place in the countries ranked 9th to 11th in the world who opted to make use of their home-ice advantage.

Slovakia will host Group D at a venue to be determined with Belarus, Austria and the third-seeded qualifier.

Latvia will host Group E with France, Italy and the second-best seeded qualifier at Arena Riga, the venue built for the 2006 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship that will become a World Championship venue again in 2021.

Group F with Norway, Denmark, Korea and the top-seeded qualifier will take place in a Norwegian city to be named.

The third round will be hosted next February in Jesenice (Slovenia), Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) and Nottingham (Great Britain).

Groups & Qualification Men

For the 2022 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament the top-8 nations of the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Ranking will be automatically qualified and together with host China and the three qualifiers be seeded according to the 2020 IIHF Men’s World Ranking. The three qualifiers will be determined in four stages of the Olympic Qualification starting in the 2019/2020 season according to the schematic below.

The 2022 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament will be played according to the same format used in PyeongChang 2018, Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010 with three groups of four teams each. The best four teams from an overall 12-team ranking – the group winners and the second-ranked team with the best record – will advance to the quarter-finals while the other teams will play a qualification playoff game.

Olympic Winter Games, Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament
Groups to be determined in 2020. The tournament will include the top-8 nations according to the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Ranking (Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, USA, Germany, Switzerland), host China and three qualifiers.

Final Olympic Qualification (27-30 August 2020)
Group D: Slovakia, Belarus, Austria, Qualifier 6. In Slovakia (city TBA).
Group E: Latvia, France, Italy, Qualifier 5. In Riga, Latvia.
Group F: Norway, Denmark, Korea, Qualifier 4. In Norway (city TBA).

Olympic Pre-Qualification Round 3 (6-9 February 2020)
Group G: Slovenia, Japan, Lithuania, Qualifier 9. In Jesenice, Slovenia.
Group H: Kazakhstan, Poland, Ukraine, Qualifier 8. In Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Group J: Great Britain, Hungary, Estonia, Qualifier 7. In Nottingham, Great Britain.

Olympic Pre-Qualification Round 2 (12-15 December 2019)
Group K: Romania, Iceland, Israel, Qualifier 11. In Brasov, Romania.
Group L: Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, Qualifier 10. In Spain (city TBA).
Group M: Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey. In Croatia (city: TBA)

Olympic Pre-Qualification Round 1 (7-10 November 2019)
Group N: Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan. In Luxembourg (city TBA).
Group O: Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Thailand. In Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Groups & Qualification Women

2022 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament will for the first time be played with 10 teams. The qualification process will be determined at the Annual Congress in May 2020 and be based on the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Ranking.

China told to get skates on

Cory Kane(C) of Kunlun Red Star competes during the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) game between Kunlun Red Star and Helsinki Jokerit, in Helsinki, Finland, on Jan 11, 2018.

By China Daily

Ice hockey’s world governing body has urged China to justify its automatic qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Last May, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) voted to allow China to enter its men’s and women’s teams in the Beijing 2022 tournaments, breaking with the convention of making the host nation qualify through competition.

However, some observers have expressed concerns that the current poor standard of the Chinese squads could dilute the quality of the Games.

“It’s a challenging situation for China, especially in the men’s game,” IIHF President Rene Fasel told China Daily in Shanghai at the recent launch of the fifth mass ice and snow sports carnival.

“It takes as long as 15 years to develop good hockey players to be competitive at the highest level-at the moment, China has only four.

“We have to make sure that the Olympics are the highest-level competition, but at the same time give the host teams a chance to put on some decent performances.”

Unlike most team sports at Summer Olympics where hosts are awarded automatic entries, the 12-team men’s and 10-squad women’s hockey Olympic tournaments traditionally require all nations to go through a challenging qualification system.

Without enough talent to sustain a national league, China’s 33rd-ranked men’s team has never previously reached the Games or the world championships’ top division.

China’s women’s team enjoyed a short-lived purple patch during which it reached the 1998 Olympic semifinals in Nagano, Japan. However, since its last Games appearance in 2010 in Vancouver, the 20th-ranked female squad has suffered a sharp decline and has seen its funding cut.

Fasel, though, is backing China to prove the doubters wrong in four years’ time.

“I don’t know if you have the word ‘impossible’ in Chinese. I don’t think so. The Chinese character is that when you want something you will do it by working day and night, putting in extra effort and manpower until you make it happen,” said the 68-year-old Swiss.

The Chinese Ice Hockey Association managed to persuade the IIHF to grant the Olympic spots by promising to build a domestic professional league that would sustain the sport’s development here after the Games.

The association, which separated from the State-run sports system last year, pledged in a recent report that the new national league would begin in May 2019 and feature eight clubs.

“Increasing the number of games homegrown talents play is critical, because in the past they’ve had a minimal amount of tests,” said CIHA president Cao Weidong.

The new league is expected to be made up of teams from four major clubs-Kunlun Red Star, Jilin City Investment, Beijing Shougang and Zhongshang Hokay-and squads developed by northeastern provincial sports bureaus.

“We want to have the Chinese preparing the two national teams (for 2022) and at the same time to build their leagues so we can guarantee the sport’s legacy and be sustainable after the Olympics,” said Fasel.

The new league, Fasel hopes, will form the top of a pyramid which can be built on the foundations of a growing grassroots game-the popularity of which is highlighted by the 2,600 junior players registered for the Beijing Minor Hockey League’s 2018-19 season.

China’s pro hockey scene is currently limited to Shanghai-based Kunlun Red Star’s participation in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League, two entries in the rebranded Silk Road Hockey League (formerly Russia’s second tier) and Red Star’s Shenzhen-based female squad playing in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

The teams all feature overseas talent of Chinese ancestry drafted through 2022 Olympic tryouts. The aim is to have them eligible to represent China in time for the Games.

South Korea controversially naturalized six Canadian male players prior to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

However, Fasel says China’s plans are easier to accept.

“It’s a good step that China only wants players with Chinese heritage. A gap (in development) of at least 15 years cannot be closed anytime soon, so it’s necessary to use these groups of talent,” he said.

Seven bidders for 2026

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Olympic_rings_without_rims.svg/1200px-Olympic_rings_without_rims.svg.png

By IIHF.com

Seven National Olympic Committees have officially expressed their interest in organizing the 2026 Olympic Winter Games until the 31 March deadline.

The candidate cities for 2026 are:
Austria: Graz
Canada: Calgary
Italy: Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Turin
Japan: Sapporo
Sweden: Stockholm
Switzerland: Sion
Turkey: Erzurum

“I warmly welcome the NOCs’ and cities’ interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games. The IOC has turned the page with regard to Olympic candidatures. Our goal is not just to have a record number of candidates, but ultimately it is to select the best city to stage the best Olympic Winter Games for the best athletes of the world,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

These interested cities and NOCs will continue with the new Dialogue Stage in which the IOC provides NOCs with greater support, technical advice, communications assistance and materials to develop the best possible candidature. The new approach enables cities to create the most feasible, legacy-enhancing Olympic Games possible. During the Dialogue Stage, the IOC will work together with the cities and NOCs to narrow the field and ultimately produce the best possible host city.

The New Norm will also afford increased flexibility in designing Games that meet the long-term development goals of the city, region and country. The seven-year preparation journey has been significantly simplified, and hosts will receive more support from the IOC and the wider Olympic Movement. Legacy is a priority from the very start of the planning through to final delivery and well beyond. The implementation of the IOC’s reforms will ensure that these elements are incorporated across the board and monitored from the earliest stages of Games planning and organisation.

Further NOCs consider bidding for 2030 and beyond including the United States Olympic Committee.

“It’s no surprise that so many incredible cities have come forward to compete for the Olympic Winter Games in 2026 and 2030,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The reforms laid out by Olympic Agenda 2020 created a clean, clear candidature process for Los Angeles, and many cities from around the world will benefit from these reforms as they bid in the coming months.”

The host city for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 will be selected by the IOC Session in September 2019.

Beijing 2022 possible for NHL, but long way off

Image result for beijing olympics logo

By The Canadian Press

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says participation in the 2022 Olympics in China is possible but not essential to the league’s efforts to grow the sport in the world’s largest country.

The NHL was criticized by the International Olympic Committee and fans for not allowing NHL players to compete in the recent Olympics in South Korea.

After letting them play in the previous five Olympics, the NHL said it didn’t want to disrupt the midseason schedule or risk players to serious injury this year.

The China games, however, could be different as the NHL eyes an untapped market of 1.4 billion people.

“I’m not making any news today, I will say certainly it’s a possibility,” Daly said while speaking at the annual SXSW Interactive conference on a panel about the NHL’s efforts to grow hockey in China. “We have (a couple) of years to kind of make that decision … I don’t think it’s a critical element to our being able to grow the sport in China … I don’t think it’s an essential.”

Daily said the NHL owners thought long and hard before deciding not to allow NHL players to compete in the Olympics in South Korea.

“In South Korea, we felt ultimately there were a lot more negatives than positives than going,” Daley said. “I expect we’ll go through the exact same process (before 2022) … There may be more positives to participating in Beijing.”

The NHL clearly has a business eye on China.

The league and teams have held regular youth and coaching clinics in Shanghai, Beijing and other Chinese cities. Last September, the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played the league’s first exhibition game in China. The NHL also has an agreement with Bloomage International Group, a Chinese-based company with a focus on developing sports in the country.

“There’s a lot of potential NHL fans there, a lot of potential NHL players there,” Daly said.

There’s also competition. The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League, has already established a professional team in China, the Kunlun Red Star, before the 2016-2017 season.

“Right now China is one of, if not the, hottest markets in the world. Everyone wants to get in there,” said David Proper, executive vice-president of media and international strategy for the NHL.

Yet hockey still barely registers in China. According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, China has less than 12,000 registered junior players and less than 500 rinks around the country.

“China is a hip market, but there is zero infrastructure,” said Jessica Guo, deputy general manager for Bloomage.

As host for the next Winter Games, the Chinese government is making a push to increase participation in all winter sports. The NHL has approached the government about introducing hockey-based games into middle school physical education programs, Proper said.

The NHL’s goal in China is to “build a permanent presence, building a hockey infrastructure, a hockey culture,” Daly said. “That’s not just rinks. It’s equipment and coaching. Unlike other countries we’ve played games in, this is a new market for hockey. We realize our obligation is to build the base.”

Datsyuk joins Triple Gold Club

http://pyeongchang2018.iihf.hockey/media/2012476/Pavel-Datsyuk-2018OG_Channel%20Homepage%20Slider.jpg

By Andrew Podnieks IIHF.com

Datsyuk won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 and 2008, and he won World Championship gold with Russia in 2012. And now he won Olympic gold with the Olympic Athletes from Russia in an overtime win in the final against Germany.

“I’ve not even thought about the Triple Gold Club yet,” he said after the game. “But when it sinks in, I guess I’ll need a new dream to shoot for because all my dreams have come true.”

Additioanlly, Datsyuk has won Olympic bronze (2002), World Championship silver (2010) and bronze (2005, 2016) and played in the World Cup twice (2004, 2016).

Russia had six previous TGC members, including Valeri Kamenski, Alexei Gusarov, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Alexander Mogilny, and Vladimir Malahkov. Datsyuk is the first Russian to join since Malakhov & Mogilny in 2000 after winning the Cup with the Dallas Stars.

Triple Gold Club Members

Olympic Athletes of Russia Win Gold in Instant Classic

By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com

For the first time since the Unified Team of Russian athletes won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, the Olympic Athletes of Russia have won gold at the 2018 Olympics after an instant classic against Germany, a 4-3 overtime victory.

Germany did a great job of holding on in the first period given the obvious skill level between the more physical, grinding German team and the fast, star-studded Russian squad. Danny Aus den Birken was the king of the night, making 12 saves in the opening period, including two big pad stops on Kirill Kaprizov and Pavel Datsyuk.

But the Germans felt heartbreak with just 0.5 seconds left in the opening period. Nikita Gusev would find former Los Angeles Kings defenceman Slava Voynov a few feet in from the blue line, with Voynov unleashing a hard shot past Aus den Birken to make it 1-0 Russia.

The Germans couldn’t compete with Russia in the skill department, so they’d need to do anything they could to grind out a goal like they had been able to do all tournament long. At 29:32, that’s exactly what they did after Felix Schutz got a weak backhand through the blocker arm of Vasili Koshechkin and in, tying the game at one just before the halfway point of the game.

As if the pressure wasn’t already against Germany, no team had ever lost their first two round-robin games at the Olympics and gone on to win gold. So when Russia scored at 13:21 in the third period to put the pre-tournament favourites back in front, the Germans would need a bit of luck. Gusev would get his second point of the night after forcing Aus den Birken to flinch with a shot near the goalie’s head, putting Russia up by one with time running out.

But 10 seconds later, the Germans knotted it up at two. Dominik Kahun, a former OHL star with the Sudbury Wolves, scored on the one-timer in front of the net after Frank Mauer found him in front, with the young German hockey star giving the underdog nation a chance late in the game.

Russia looked so overpowered heading into the tournament, but that didn’t matter on Sunday. With three minutes to go, Jonas Muller scored the biggest goal in German hockey history when he scored on a hard shot in the high slot, beating Koschechkin to make it 3-2 and put the Germans in the lead. It was Muller’s first ever Olympic point, and after sitting out a game early in the tournament, it was the most important goal Germany had ever scored.

But with 55 seconds left, Gusev, Russia’s best player in the medal round, tied the game up at three. He scored from a nearly impossible angle just a few feet away from the net, somehow beating Aus den Birken while Russia had their net empty to make it 3-3, sending the game to overtime.

One of the greatest games in Olympic history required extra playing time to decide the winner, with both nations looking to get their first gold medal in their current forms. Russia was close with 13 minutes left in OT when Kovalchuk broke in all alone, making a quick deke on Aus den Birken. Kovalchuk thought he beat Aus den Birken on the play, but the German netminder made an incredible left pad save to keep the puck out and keep his team in the game.

Kirill Kaprizov, Russia’s star player at the World Juniors a year ago, would get the job done in overtime. Gusev would grab his fourth point of the night after feeding Kaprizov to the left of the German net, one-timing a hard shot to give the Olympic Athletes of Russia the gold medal, the first time a Russian team has done so since the fall of the Soviet Union.

« Older posts