Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 5)

Hockey of the future?

By Jamie Lew – The Media HQ

Hockey has always been a game of innovation. From the first indoor skating rinks to the origins of the goalie mask, including the first carbon fiber sticks, hockey has always improved thanks to advancement. Even now, hockey is looking for innovations by multiplying the possible sites for the Winter Classic and by working on advanced monitoring data in partnership with sports betting agencies.

But some innovations go beyond improving the existing sport. Today we’re going to paint a picture of what could be the next big step in the world of hockey. In fact, it’s a whole new approach to the sport itself, known simply as TriHockey.

What is TriHockey?

Imagine that the air hockey table you played with as a child came to life. Imagine that the puck on a hockey rink has no friction and that there were three teams and three nets instead of two. Now imagine a game played on inline skates, with players wearing futuristic Tron uniforms. If you can imagine it all, you have imagined TriHockey.

How it works? It all starts with the creation of a life-size air hockey surface. Technological advances have enabled Mark Sendo, the founder and CEO of TriHockey, and his team to create an entire playing surface designed like an air hockey table. For this reason, the puck does not feel any traction when it slides on the ice.

Three teams of four (a goalkeeper, a defender and two forwards) will compete on this rink in a one-on-one hockey game. They will play on a 120-foot diameter ice rink lined with 12-foot-tall inverted half-pipes, giving TriHockey a unique speed and intensity. Do you think it’s a vision for the future? Sendo explained to hockey writers that it had been one of his dreams for a very long time.

TriHockey is actually an evolution of my initial idea that I envisioned about 22 years ago, of a human-sized field hockey rink. In early 2019, my team and I proposed a circular ice rink concept, with 3 teams, 3 goalkeeper nets and 1 puck played on an air rink. We then worked with brilliant engineers to design and test the entire rink.

Mark Sendo, founder and CEO of TriHockey

The Sendo team is impressive, growing from an army of an army in January 2019 to more than 20 volunteers, mostly unpaid, attached to their common vision. Most recently, TriHockey brought in Ken Hershman, the former president of HBO Sports, to join him as president of the future TriHockey Pro League.

Advantages of TriHockey

Although TriHockey may seem like a distant reality, the team hopes to debut at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex later this year. Hoping for an initial league of six professional teams (reminiscent of the NHL Six), TriHockey may be more accessible than it seems at first glance – especially for local communities.

The prohibitive costs of local ice hockey are no longer a secret. In fact, they have become a major concern for many members of the hockey community. But Sendo believes TriHockey is addressing these issues directly and will allow more children to learn to love the sport.

“To refrigerate an ice rink (standard ice hockey), it’s about $ 40,000 a month,” Sendo told us. “For our skating rinks, it costs $ 20 an hour, and when you don’t play, you turn off the switch. The playing time will cost much less.”

In addition to the lower cost of TriHockey, the pace and accessibility will also be increased.

“Air hockey is such a fast sport,” said Sendo. “There will be little change, if any, in the speed of play. In fact, we think TriHockey could be slightly faster. The advantage is that children can play with sneakers and our pros will use inline skates. “

The future is now

TriHockey may be the hockey of the future. But his future is much closer than we think. They hope to get an opportunity with Disney, although that date has not yet been set. Hockey writers contacted a Disney representative for comment, but were told that company policy prohibits commenting on potential partnerships until contracts are finalized.

Whether the debut arrives in August or takes a little longer, Sendo and his team are ready. While franchise costs are expensive, set at $ 5 million, they already have 7-10 potential franchise owners interested in investing if the sport is successful at Disney. They intend to build with a top-down approach, focusing on building interest in particular communities like any other professional league. More than 2,200 subscribers on their Facebook page are already monitoring the sport and trying to help it develop.

Fast and exciting ice-free hockey may seem impossible. But, again, there was a time when the idea of ​​building a Las Vegas hockey franchise would have been laughable. Hockey has always thrived on transformation. And in TriHockey, he could envision his future.

College men’s hockey: UMD players recall being back in the USSR

Minnesota Duluth hockey coach Mike Sertich huddles with his players during a break in a game the Bulldogs played in December 1984 in the Soviet Union, becoming the first collegiate team in any sport to go behind the Iron Curtain.

By: Rick Weegman Pine Journal

Minnesota Duluth’s men’s hockey team concluded a historic trip behind the Iron Curtain 35 years ago
A strip search. Live bears on skates. Stolen towels. KGB officers knocking on hotel room doors. Brushing one’s teeth with vodka.

Oh yeah, a couple of hockey games, too.

Memories abound about the Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey team’s visit to the Soviet Union, which concluded 35 years ago today. That historic December 1984 visit to Moscow and Leningrad was the first time a collegiate team in any sport traveled behind the Iron Curtain.

“That 1984-85 team, I think, was the best team that ever played at UMD,” said All-American forward Bill Watson, who scored 210 career points in three seasons with the Bulldogs. “But that trip that we made was different. Nothing ever went smoothly on that trip.

“Once we got there, it was like going to a different world.”

Some of the memories from that trip remain hidden from public consumption.

“There were a lot of (memorable moments),” Jim Toninato, a UMD forward from 1982-86, said with a laugh. “But I’d say about 90 percent of them I can’t tell you.”

And despite the best efforts of those involved, televising the games live back to Duluth — the impetus for the trip in the first place — never happened.

Here’s a look back at that experience, from the sometimes fuzzy perspective of those who were there:

Plan takes shape

Bob Rich, owner of NBC affiliate KBJR-TV, first approached then-UMD athletic director Ralph Romano with the idea of playing in the Communist bloc.

After Romano died during the 1983-84 season, Rich, who had made two previous trips to the USSR, continued discussions with his replacement, Bruce McLeod, and with the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Sports Ministry in Moscow.

“He was always a giant promoter of Duluth,” said Jim Rich, Bob’s son and one half of the announcing team for UMD games on KBJR. “He started the Christmas City of the North Parade and was all about civic pride. One way to promote Duluth was to promote the university, so we started televising UMD games every Friday and Saturday.”

UMD played in its first NCAA championship game at the end of the 1983-84 season, losing to Bowling Green State in four overtimes, and would return to the Frozen Four after the 1984-85 season.

So Bob Rich pounced on an idea to capitalize on the increased interest in UMD hockey.

“He put together a package to bring fans and sponsors to Russia and came up with the idea to have these games there,” Jim Rich said. “It was his vision to give UMD as high of a profile as possible and he thought this was a good way to do it.”

KBJR paid all the expenses for sending UMD’s official party of 29 members — approximately $58,000 — in addition to paying for four satellite links and for an NBC director and producer to fly in from London.

It was the height of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR, just four years after the Americans’ “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the subsequent U.S. pullout from the Summer Games in Moscow.

In order to prepare them for their visit, UMD chemistry professor Ron Caple, who would serve as the team’s unofficial translator, held a couple classes to teach the basics of the Russians’ language and customs.

UMD played a series against Northeastern in Boston before departing for overseas. The Bulldogs lost 4-0 in the series finale.

“It was probably our worst game that we played all year,” assistant coach Jim Knapp said. “Everyone was thinking about going to the Soviet Union.”

The entourage, which included fans and parents of players, flew to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and then took a DC-10 overnight to Helsinki, Finland. By late that Sunday evening, everyone had checked into the Hotel Cosmos in Moscow.

Moscow memories

Moscow was an immediate culture shock.

“The people and the buildings, and what it was like living in that culture,” Bemidji-born Toninato said of the difference between Moscow and home. “For naive college kids, it was an incredible experience.”

Sumptuous breakfasts, lunches and dinners were provided and a strict schedule for sightseeing opportunities was adhered to.

“They showed us what they wanted to show us. Very, very structured,” Toninato said. “We did get out a few times and walk around the city a little bit and check out the culture.

“It seemed dark, like there wasn’t a lot of color. They had guards with machine guards on every corner, that was a little weird.”

Head coach Mike Sertich said the group was chaperoned closely throughout their stay in Moscow.

“There were armed service people all over the place,” Sertich recalled by phone Friday from a fish house on Lake of the Woods. “I remember being chastised by one of them because I was chewing tobacco and I spit. He came over and read me the riot act in Russian.”

Sertich didn’t get thrown in the gulag or threatened with a trip to Siberia, “but I probably got pretty close to it because I spit on the Motherland.”

The first day’s schedule included a tour of the famed Red Square.

“My roommate and I, (goaltender) Rick Kosti, both slept in and missed it.” said defenseman Norm Maciver, who scored 191 career points with the Bulldogs before playing 12 seasons in the NHL. “We were so jet-lagged that we missed the first day’s tour.”

When told of that, Sertich countered with a rebuttal: “They were not jet-lagged; they were other-lagged.”

Perhaps that had to do with the abundance of vodka in Moscow.

“It seemed like the only thing we had to drink was Pepsi or vodka. And it was warm Pepsi,” Maciver said.

Water, apparently, was a scarce commodity.

“We’d brush our teeth in vodka,” forward Skeeter Moore remembered. “Typically you don’t swallow your toothpaste, right? But we were college kids brushing our teeth with vodka so what the hell.”

Plans change

Day 2 of the trip began with a number of alterations to the schedule.

According to a diary kept by equipment manager Rick Menz, a 1 p.m. practice was canceled and then rescheduled for 4:30 only to be canceled again. A 9 p.m. game against Moskvich, a Russian auto factory-sponsored elite team, was changed to 4:30 p.m. against a Moscow Sports Institute team at a rink similar to West Duluth’s Peterson Arena, with no fan seating. UMD lost 8-5.

That was the game KBJR had planned to televise live back to Duluth.

“At the last minute the plug got pulled — literally,” said Jim Rich, who left Duluth in 1991 and is currently the sports director at Fox 9 in the Twin Cities.

“The night before the game we were at a dinner and somebody came up to my father and said they needed to speak,” Rich recalled. “They walked away and they told him that night that the game the next day was off and there would be no television.

“They negotiated through the night and told Coach Sertich what was going to happen. We ended up playing a different Soviet team in what was basically a practice rink. We filmed that with one camera and did the play-by-play with Steve Jezierski and myself.”

During UMD’s pregame warmups, Jezierski remembers being told in no uncertain terms to tell the team to leave the ice immediately.

“Jimmy and I were in the press box and (the Soviets) asked us to make an announcement over the PA system for UMD to get off the ice, that their time was up,” Jezierski said. “Both Jim and I looked at each other like, ‘I’m not telling Sertie that it’s time to get off the ice.’ But they were persistent.

“I don’t do very good dialects but I did my best Russian-English imitation and said, ‘Pleez-a ged-da off-a-da ice’ trying to make Sertie think it was them making the announcement and not me.”

KBJR still filmed the game with one camera in hopes of showing it on a delayed basis once back home, but for Rich and Jezierski the rest of the trip turned into a vacation.

“It was as if the rules changed when we got out there,” Jezierski said. “Basically we were tourists, there was nothing work-related whatsoever.”

‘Trouble finds trouble’

Though memories are a bit hazy and a need to protect the not-so-innocent still persists 35 years later, there’s little doubt the Bulldogs pushed the envelope in creating an international incident.

The first such scene came as the team was preparing to leave Moscow for a 70-minute Aeroflot flight to Leningrad.

Watson roomed with Jay Jackson, the Maroon Loon mascot, who stuffed towels into his luggage as souvenirs.

“He thought he was going to be funny and tried to sneak towels out of the hotel in Moscow,” Watson said. “They searched every one of our bags and I nearly lost my suitcase, which was so dear to me that I gave it the nickname of ‘Boxcar Willie.’ I was very angry with the Maroon Loon after that and I may have done things to his outfit that I can’t really speak about.”

Toilet paper and towels were treated like Faberge eggs.

“The two things they kept track of was toilet paper — that was more like newspaper-sandpaper — and the towels,” Moore related. “(Jackson) was my roommate in college and I remember him saying later, ‘I didn’t try to steal them, I just needed a couple extra and if someone else needed one I would help out.’ ”

Watson doesn’t buy that excuse to this day.

“They counted the potatoes they gave you, the bread they gave you. Of course they’re going to count the towels at this nice hotel,” he said. “We didn’t even get to the bus and they were on (Jackson) like white on rice. And I almost lost my legendary suitcase.”

That wasn’t the only trouble team members got into.

At the posh Moscow hotel, Watson received a call from AD McLeod to come down three floors to retrieve two teammates who had stumbled into his room after playing floor hockey in the hall. Watson wouldn’t reveal any names, but left a hint.

“All I can tell you there was a Hall of Famer and another one of my classmates who had a wonderful time playing floor hockey in the hallway,” he chuckled.

Brett Hull, whose father, Bobby, was highly revered by the Soviets, is the only member of that UMD team to later earn a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Moore was at the heart of another controversy, too.

The Duluthian brought along a number of items such as jeans, gum and cassette tapes in order to trade with the locals. Moore schemed to put a UMD jersey on one of the traders to allow him access to the hotel in Moscow.

“I tried to get to be buddy-buddy with some of the Russians and snuck them in,” Moore acknowledged. “I was trying to do some trading of some of our stuff that we brought over.”

That led to supposed KGB guards knocking on the door and removing the outsiders.

When asked if it was his room that the KGB approached, Watson, tongue firmly planted in cheek, denied any knowledge.

“I still think that state departments or governments of countries can come back at you for things like that,” he said. “I don’t have any recollections of that. Zero.”

Sertich says he took his chaperoning responsibilities seriously, but there was only so much oversight he could do in a foreign setting.

“Some of those guys got into it pretty good,” he said. “Nobody got arrested but I don’t know if they would have known the difference. Kids have a funny way of finding their way where they shouldn’t be. Kids are kids, it doesn’t matter if they are from Moscow or Duluth. Trouble finds trouble sometimes.”

Next stop: Leningrad

The Bulldogs spent their third day in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, a more westernized city of 4.9 million located between Estonia and Finland on the Baltic Sea coast.

The team attended the Moscow Circus on Ice, where the star attraction was live bears on skates, and later saw a ballet and toured the Winter Palace Museum, where paintings of Rembrandt, Picasso and many others were housed.

“It was quite a bonding experience for all the guys, being over in a foreign country and having to be together,” Toninato said.

But again, things did not go as planned with UMD’s scheduled game. The Bulldogs were supposed to play a Red Army junior team, but the rag-tag outfit that took the ice did not resemble the squad UMD had signed up to play. The Bulldogs won 9-0, according to Menz’s diary entry.

“It seemed like we were playing the equivalent of a beer-league team,” said Maciver, who is in his eighth season as a Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager. “These guys had different colored helmets on and their sticks looked like they had been used for a year.”

The rink itself was substandard as well. Plexiglas was replaced by a barb-wire mesh that surrounded the boards.

In between periods, UMD was served tea in a scene that definitely was not standard at the DECC.

“We didn’t have any locker rooms and we’d sit outside the rink and these older ladies would come and pour coffee or tea between periods for us,” Moore said. “That was an eye-opener, just bizarre to have them pouring tea.”

At least it wasn’t vodka.

That beverage may have played a role, however, during other incidents in Leningrad.

“Coach Sertich was a little more relaxed than he normally was (in Leningrad) and allowed us to enjoy ourselves,” Watson explained.

Jezierski recalls one potential problem being avoided at a bar in the city.

“It was filled with prostitutes,” he said. “I remember (Knapp) had to rescue backup goalie Ben Duffy because he got backed into a corner with three or four of them. Leningrad was completely different than Moscow.”

Sertich said a couple players went missing one night in Leningrad making deals with black marketeers. Moore, one of those involved, ended up meeting up with traders at an off-limits house.

“I was always trying to get one of those Russian fur hats, and I finally got one,” Moore said. “I remember walking out of there thinking, ‘Maybe this isn’t so smart.’ ”

Sertich later found out about the incident.

“I know Skeeter got to some places that he shouldn’t have been,” the coach said.

Luckily, no players caused an international embarrassment.

“One of the guys almost did, but you can’t print that one,” Maciver said. “Those couple of days, the guys had a little bit of fun. Perhaps too much fun.”

Departure difficulties

The team left Leningrad bound for Helsinki one week after first departing Boston.

Surprise, surprise, all did not go smoothly.

Going through customs at the airport was an ordeal, especially for the U.S. natives, as Soviet officials confiscated whatever they wanted.

“As a Canadian, I flew through customs,” said Watson, a Manitoba native. “It was the Americans who took about 4-1/2 hours to get through customs. I’ll never forget that, it was hilarious.”

Knapp, the team’s assistant, wasn’t laughing.

“They took me in the back room and they took my suitcase apart,” he recalled. “They cut the seams of my suitcase and literally strip-searched me. I’m going, ‘What is going on?’ What (Sertich) found out is that it is normal practice on the Soviet team that the assistant coaches are KGB agents.”

Sertich said the customs officials were in for a hearty laugh if they thought Knapp was an undercover agent.

“The Russian hockey teams when they would come over to North America, the assistant coaches were KGB so they went through (Knapp) pretty good,” Sertich said. “It was pretty humorous actually. We gave him a ton of BS. If anybody looked non-CIA, it was Jim Knapp.”

Included among the confiscations was approximately half of the videotape shot of UMD’s first game, meaning KBJR needed to improvise what it aired when everyone returned.

“When we were leaving the country through outbound customs, they kept half the tapes because they wanted to know what was on them,” Jim Rich said. “They took half the game and said they would send it to us. We’re still waiting for them to mail us that tape.”

Once through customs, the UMD entourage flew Finn Air to Helsinki and then back across the Atlantic to New York via Montreal.

The trip ended with a charter flight to Duluth, arriving before 11 p.m., leaving players time to wear their newly acquired babushka hats into the Warehouse bar in Canal Park.

No word on whether vodka was on the menu that night.

Minnesota Duluth players face off against a team from the Soviet Union during the team’s trip to Moscow and Leningrad in December 1984.

Long-awaited ice hockey match at North Pole to played on April 20, 2020

By Tass Russian New Agency

Russia’s legendary ice hockey player and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Vyacheslav Fetisov said on Wednesday that an international ice hockey game at the North Pole will be played on April 20, 2020.

The Russian Ecology Protection Society, said in its statement quoting Fetisov that the game was likely to be played some 70-90 kilometers away from the geographical tag of the North Pole.

“An ice hockey match, which was never played at the North Pole, should draw the global society’s attention to problems we discuss today within the frames of the United Nations Environment Program [UNEP]…,” Fetisov said. “I dearly hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin will also take part in the planned ice hockey match at the North Pole.”

Russia’s two-time Olympic champion and three-time winner of the NHL Stanley Cup Fetisov earlier announced plans earlier to organize a friendly international ice hockey match in 2019 on the territory of the Barneo Ice Camp, which is a unique Russian-operated drift station on the frozen Arctic Ocean near the North Pole. However, the earlier announced dates for the ice hockey game were later postponed.

According to Fetisov, the aim of the event is to draw attention of the international community to the problems of the global climate change. Ice hockey stars from Canada, the United States, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland have already confirmed their participation in the planned match.

Russian President Putin first appeared on the ice, playing hockey in 2012, just several hours after his inauguration and it was as part of the traditional Night Ice Hockey League. He has played regularly since then at this annual event and during the match of the Night Ice Hockey League on December 29, 2018 on Moscow’s Red Square Putin scored an opening goal that led his team to 14-10 win over the opponents.

Last month, Putin appeared playing ice hockey again at the Shayba Arena in the Russian resort city of Sochi, where he was joined in the match by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

The 66-year-old Russian president, known for his avid support of sports development in Russia, is a black belt holder in judo and he regularly practices.

Kenyans on Ice – Hockey star plays for Climate Action

By UN Environment

It was the first international ice hockey game ever played in Kenya. It was also historical because it was organized to call attention to the impact of Climate Change – in Kenya and around the world.

The widely publicized game is part of a UN Environment initiative to use sports to rally governments and common citizens in defense of our planet. Hockey games are being held in dozens of regions around the globe – and after the games the players tell the stories of climate change impacting their communities This project will culminate in the Last Game – the first and last hockey game every played at the North Pole. But yesterday it was Kenya’s turn in the spotlight in support of the UN Environment Assembly.

The Kenyan Ice Lions played a dramatic match against the LAST GAME All Stars – led by the Hall of Fame, World, Olympic, and Stanley Cup Champion – Slava Fetisov – UN patron for the Polar Regions.

The Last Game All-Stars won 10-9 in a shoot out. Fetisov scored the deciding goal. “Everyone is a winner “ said Ben Azegere, captain of the Ice Lions “because this helps us tell the story of how climate change is affecting the country and the world we love”

He led the visiting players, who came from a dozen nations – on a tour of the National Wildlife Park. He was on the verge of tears as described how unprecedented and destructive weather patters and human intrusion were decimating the lions – the mascot of his team – and the symbol of the soul of the Kenyan nation.

The Last Game has already visited Finland, in the Save Pond Hockey popular tournament, with the participation of Sauli Niinisto, President of Finland . Future Last Games are being scheduled from Abu Dhabi to Argentina – from New Orleans to New Zealand… and in New York – in September to coincide with the UN Secretary-General Climate Summit.

Hollywood to hit the ice? North Pole to host hockey match for global celebrities in 2020

First Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Physical Fitness, Sports, Tourism and Youth Vyacheslav Fetisov

By Tass Russian News Agency

An ice hockey match involving politicians, Hollywood celebrities, athletes and public figures will take place at the North Pole in April 2020, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Committee on Physical Fitness, Sports, Tourism and Youth Vyacheslav Fetisov said at a press conference in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on Monday.

According to earlier reports, Fetisov, who is a two-time Olympic ice hockey champion and former NHL player, discussed the idea to hold ice hockey matches at the North Pole with Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.

“The current global climate situation is unfavorable,” Fetisov told reporters. “I got the idea to bring together famous athletes, Hollywood stars, politicians and public figures to play ice hockey, sending a message to the world about how serious the situation is,” he added.

“Today, the climate issue is what can unite people and get them to leave all political, regional and other kinds of conflicts behind… Unfortunately, we were unable to arrange a game this year due to lack of time but it will happen in April next year where we planned it [at the North Pole],” Fetisov emphasized.

According to him, in order to arrange such a game, coordination with environmentalists would be needed. As for now, the organizers have secured the support of the global academic community and mapped out the logistics. “Yet, we haven’t had enough time to bring together the celebrities,” Fetisov noted.

The Agency Partnership Wins Ice Hockey League KHL

By Maja Pawinska Sims – The Holmes Report

Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the international ice hockey league, has appointed The Agency Partnership as its first retained international PR agency to support its expansion into new markets.

KHL was created in 2008 to develop ice hockey across Europe and Asia. The 11th KHL Championship, which began in September, is contested by 25 teams from Russia, Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia. Last month the first regular season game was held in Zurich, and the league plans to move further into Western Europe, including the UK.

The Agency Partnership was founded in February this year by former MSL client director and Ogilvy head of media and entertainment Blair Metcalfe, with a core team in London supported by a network of independent partner agencies and more than 600 consultants around the world.

The agency’s brief for Kontinental Hockey League is to carry out media and influencer engagement and global monitoring, to increase awareness of the sport and attendance at games in key European and Asian markets.

Metcalfe, the agency’s CEO and creative lead, told the Holmes Report: “KHL is Europe and Asia’s answer to the NHL in America: it’s about top-flight ice hockey from multiple countries, and it’s at a pivotal point in its expansion programe. We’ll be helping with corporate promotion of the league, as well as global monitoring and analysis of conversation around the sport, especially from influences, so we can turn those insights into creative campaigns encouraging consumers to go to matches.”

KHL marketing and communications VP Sergey Dobrokhvalov said: “Working with The Agency Partnership will provide us with the expert support we need to develop and execute a communications strategy for our exciting growth plans, helping attract audiences to enjoy some of the best ice hockey you can find anywhere in the world.”

Other recent wins for The Agency Partnership include electric bicycle company Volt, and Vinci UK Developments, which appointed the team on a stakeholder relations and integrated consumer, public affairs and corporate communications brief for developments across the UK.

UN Environment to host ‘Last Game’ for the Arctic at the North Pole

By UN Environment.org

The Arctic is one of the earth’s most fragile ecosystems, dis proportionally affected by climate change and warming at twice the average rate of the rest of the planet. To garner global attention and support for the rapidly disappearing ice in the Polar regions, UN Environment is organizing the ‘last ice hockey game in the Arctic’ in spring 2019.

The game is spearheaded by legendary Russian ice hockey player Viacheslav Fetisov, who was designated UN Environment Patron for Polar Regions this week.

“The world today is very fragile and it’s our duty to do everything to unite people and nations to remind them that we don’t have a planet B,” Fetisov said. “Sport and environment are two spheres that will unite people and help us to protect the Earth – our common heritage.”

The frightening speed of climate change is particularly visible in the Arctic. This winter the temperature at the North Pole was well above normal. Ships navigated the Arctic Passage without icebreakers for the first time as the age, thickness and extent of sea ice cover in the Arctic decreased.

The hockey game, to be played in spring 2019, will take place on an ice rink on the North Pole. The teams will include ice hockey players and sports personalities from around the world, as well as Arctic indigenous peoples and youth.

The symbolic event is a wake-up call to the world, highlighting climate models projecting that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 2040. During the event, the teams will phone the United Nations Secretary-General from the North Pole.

“We simply cannot ignore the threat of climate change to the Arctic regions of our earth. Once this fragile ecosystem is disturbed, it may never recover,” said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. “I am grateful to see great athletes like Viacheslav Fetisov lending their names to this ‘last call for the Arctic’ and make the world aware that we have to take action. It is now or never.”

Viacheslav Fetisov has frequently drawn attention to the polar region over the years; for example working towards the establishment of the marine protected area in the Ross Sea in Antarctica and orchestrating a massive beach cleanup in the Russian Arctic in 2017.

Changes in the Arctic affect weather patterns across the world with severe consequences for humans, societies, and nature. In light of this, Viacheslav will use his new position as Patron for Polar Regions to strengthen awareness of some of the most urgent environmental issues, including climate change, pollution, ocean protection, clean water, national parks and sustainable tourism.

About Viacheslav Fetisov

Fetisov is a legendary Soviet ice hockey player, one of the best defensemen in the history of world ice hockey. During his career, he won two gold medals at the Winter Olympics and was a two-time winner of the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings.

In 2015, Fetisov was the first person in Russia to support the campaign to create the marine protected area in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Throughout the years he has lent his support to several environmental initiatives in the region, including Lewis Pugh’s (UN Environment Patron of the Oceans) cleanup on Lake Baikal, Russia and the Antarctica 2020 campaign for the creation of more arctic marine protected areas. In September 2017, he orchestrated the biggest beach cleanup in the Russian Arctic.

Ak Bars Kazan upsets CSKA Moscow to win KHL’s Gagarin Cup

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By Associated Press

Russia’s Ak Bars Kazan won the Kontinental Hockey League’s Gagarin Cup for the third time in its history on Sunday with a surprise 4-1 series win over CSKA Moscow.

Ak Bars won Game 5 1-0, with ex-Edmonton Oilers wing Rob Klinkhammer scoring the winning goal on the power play early in the third period. Emil Garipov stopped 33 shots for the first shutout of the finals.

It was the first Gagarin Cup since 2010 for Ak Bars, which won the title in the KHL’s first two seasons but hadn’t won since.

Ak Bars was considered the underdog since CSKA’s roster included eight of the Russian players who won Olympic gold in February, with Ak Bars having none.

KHL postpones playoffs to let Olympic gold medalists party more

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By Kyle Cantlon – Yahoo.com

Team ‘Olympic Athletes From Russia’ has transformed into team ‘Olympic Boozehounds From Russia’ awfully quickly, and the bender isn’t over yet.

Less than a week out of the PyeongChang Games where a group of Russians captured men’s hockey gold, playoffs in the country’s top league are set to begin. Two of the clubs comprising the majority of Team OAR in South Korea — CKSA Moscow and SKA Saint Petersburg — are slotted to face off against Sparktak and Severstal, respectively, in the opening round, but the KHL is reportedly postponing the start of both series.

For a very legitimate reason – if you ask me.

Powerhouse No. 1 overall seed SKA Saint Petersburg, which went 47-5-4 during the KHL’s regular season, featured 15 players on Russia’s Olympic team, including former NHL All-Stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, and gold-medal game hero Nikita Gusev.

Second ranked CSKA Moscow boasted eight players on OAR’s gold-winning squad, including Nikita Nesterov, Alexey Marchenko, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Kirill Kaprizov — who potted the OT winner against Germany in the final game.

Both behemoths are on a collision course to the KHL finals, so why not delay the inevitable in the name of a good hangover.

KHL Playoff matches ups

Guinness World Record attempted for playing Ice Hockey at highest altitude

By ANI News

Leh (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Feb 8 (ANI): Attempting a Guinness Book of World record for playing Ice Hockey at the highest altitude, a two-day tournament was organized at Chibra Kargyam in Ladakh’s Changthang region.

As many as six teams, including five international teams from Canada, Germany, Russia, the USA and India, participated in the tournament.

The tournament, which was started yesterday, was jointly organized by Ladakh Winter Sports Club (LWSC), Hockey Foundation and Lalok Winter Sports Association.

Reflecting on the same, Lundup, the secretary of Lalok Winter Sports Association, told ANI, “Guinness world record matches are going on here. There are 16 representatives in this tournament from a different part of the country. They are players from Canada, Germany, India, Russia and USA. This tournament is organized by the Ladakh Winter Sports Club (LWSC) in collaboration with the Lalok Winter Sport Association and with the help of the Hockey Foundation. Here the altitude is 14,050 feet of ice hockey ring. So, it’s the highest world hockey rink in this world.”

Tundup, a member of Ladakh Winter Sports Club (LWSC), echoed similar views and said that it is a proud moment for the entire country to host such kind of event.

“I am very happy that here the matches are being played for the Guinness World record. Here five overseas teams have come and there is one team from Ladakh. It is a big achievement for us to organize such kind of event in Ladakh. It is an honour for the entire Singey Lalok area of Leh district to have such event. It is a proud moment for our state and for our country because I believe such kind of event has never happened in India. I want to thank all the ministers of the state for supporting us,” he told.

Meanwhile, Anthon, who has been coaching ice hockey in India for five years now, revealed that they were planning the Guinness World record match for almost two years now and hoped to see many more events like this in future.

“I am from Canada. I have been coaching in India for five years. We have been organizing and planning this Guinness World record for almost two years now.It is such an amazing day for Canadians here those have been involved in the ice hockey in Ladakh. And all the Ladhaki people here, I am happy that they are joining and that they can enjoy this beautiful moment in the history of ice hockey in India. I hope in the coming years there will be more tournaments like this,” Anthon said.

Located at a distance of 160 km from Leh, the natural ice hockey rink is at the altitude of 14050 feet above sea level.

This International standard ice hockey rink is certified by Geological Survey of India.

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