Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lucas Aykroyd of IIHF.com,
RANKIN INLET – In the grand scheme of pro hockey, Jordin Tootoo is a hard-working agitator with 539 career games in 10 NHL seasons. But in the Canadian North, he’s a legend.
There’s a huge billboard featuring the first Inuit-born NHLer in his hometown of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Adorned with caribou antlers, it depicts the now-31-year-old veteran in the Team Canada sweater he wore at the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
When you spend time in the small, isolated communities in the Canadian North, you soon realize that passion for both IIHF tournaments and the NHL is just as deep-rooted up here as in major urban centres like Toronto or Montreal, which will co-host the World Juniors in 2015 and 2017.
In some ways, that passion is even stronger among the traditionally nomadic peoples of the North. There are so many other diversions and distractions in the cities. In Nunavut – Canada’s newest territory, created in 1999 – there are only 33,000 people in an area that’s eight times the size of Great Britain. Here, amid the endless waters of Hudson Bay and the stark, forbidding Arctic tundra, there is plenty of time to think about hockey.
When you’ve finished browsing through soapstone sculptures, bone carvings, and a children’s hockey book entitled Atausiraaallarumaluuunniit! at the Ivalu gift shop in Rankin Inlet, you come outside to the dirt road and a native man in a Hockey Canada T-shirt drives by on an ATV.
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korean men’s and women’s national teams will be competing on home ice at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeonChang, following a decision by the IIHF Congress to grant the country automatic entry into the ice hockey events.
“After careful deliberation and discussions with the IOC and the Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA), we have decided to grant an automatic qualification to the men’s and women’s national teams for PyeongChang 2018,” said IIHF President René Fasel.
The decision came following meetings held during the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress, where the KIHA presented a comprehensive four-year plan to intensify the development of the men’s and women’s teams. The plan has the backing of the IOC, the Korean government, and national sponsors, who together with the KIHA have pledged to invest over $20 million U.S. into the national team program in the leadup to the Games.
from Jashvina Shah at Shnarped,
- Returning powerhouse
Last season, Minnesota powered its way to the Frozen Four, ending rival North Dakota’s season with 0.6 seconds left in the semifinals. Union ended Minnesota’s season in the national championship game, but the Gophers return one of the strongest rosters in the country. The team’s top-five scorers will return, including Kyle Rau. And the Golden Gophers have one of the best goalkeepers in the country in Adam Wilcox, who was key to Minnesota’s run last season.
- Miami, Michigan Poised for Bounce Back Seasons
On the opposite side, Miami and Michigan turned in letdown seasons. But the Wolverines a have solid leadership in captain Andrew Copp. The Wolverines lost Alex Guptill and Phil Di Giuseppe a year early, but they’re a couple losses in exchange for a freshman class that should help Michigan make it back to the NCAA tournament.
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
The number of registered ice hockey players has grown to 1,779,911 according to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s annual Survey of Players that includes 68 countries.
That’s an increase of 8.47 per cent compared to last year. There have been more players in all categories – male, female and junior players.
The number-one country remains hockey motherland Canada followed by the United States, the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and France who complete the top-10.
But the data also offers other interesting angles. Who would have thought that Latvia has the sixth-highest number of players per capita and that Iceland is ninth before tenth-ranked USA?
This article is about a week old and I saw it when it first came out but decided to pass, but in the last few days a few KK members brought it to my attention which tells me I should have posted it in the first place.
from Emily Cornelius at The Huffington Post,
As hockey fans, one of our favorite things to do is criticize the players. 'He's a bum', 'he's washed up,' 'we are paying him how much?' It's innate. They make a ton of money to do what we wish we were doing, they can take a little ribbing from us lowly fans.
But are we giving these players enough credit? How hard is it actually to 'make it,' to 'go to the show,' to 'get the call?'
Early 2013, Jim Parcels, a former Peterborough Petes trainer and Ken Campbell, a writer for The Hockey News, co-authored Selling the Dream: How Hockey Parents and Their Kids Are Paying the Price for Our National Obsession. In the book, Parcels breaks down the odds of a kid from Ontario making the NHL. Out of the select 30,000 players they studied, 48 were drafted by an NHL team, and 39 of those 48 actually signed contracts with an NHL team. Of that 39, only 32 actually played in the NHL, and only 15 of those players played more than one full season. And finally, of that 15, only six played the minimum 400 games to qualify for the NHL Player Pension.
So if we count the 400 game league minimum for the Player Pension as having a 'career' in the NHL, then 0.16 percent will get drafted into the NHL and only 0.02 percent of hockey-playing boys in Ontario will make a 'career' out of hockey.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The expectation back in June was that the NHL and NHL Players’ Association would have some kind of World Cup announcement by the end of summer, but that’s going to wait a bit longer.
Both sides have an understanding that they will wait to get more concrete details in order, including being able to commit firmly to a regular interval for the tournament, which hasn’t been held since 2004 when Canada beat Finland in the final at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
In other words, while the NHL and NHLPA could have easily announced by now that the event is returning in September 2016, they want to have much more to give than that.
What we know at this point: The World Cup is scheduled to return in September 2016, primarily anchored in Toronto, but there may also be some games in Montreal. That’s still in discussion.
There likely will be eight countries in the tournament, which is the same as 2004 and 1996. There are six countries fixed: Olympic champion Canada, Russia, the United States, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. The additional two teams and the manner in which they will be selected hasn’t been nailed down yet.
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
It’s story about hockey, but it’s also a story about a country, an ideology and a culture and how a sport became intertwined with the changes all three went through with the fall of the Soviet Union.
It’s also a story about Slava Fetisov, the face and the heart of the film who steals the show with his funny, frank and combative turn in front of the camera in what Polsky revealed was a marathon six-hour session.
All of that’s in there, and it’s all worth seeing. I consider myself a hard marker when it comes to film, but this is the rare hockey doc where it’s hard to find fault.
from Michael Russo of Russo Rants,
There were several moving tributes and words expressed yesterday on the tragic loss of Bob Suter, Ryan's dad and the Wild scout.
Bob Suter, who died at the rink he co-owned with his son, was, as ESPN's John Buccigross so poignantly said below, a rink rat.
In a story last year, Ryan Suter told me he never grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL. He figured he would go to the University of Wisconsin like his dad and uncle, Gary, and then work at the rink with his dad. His father was always at that rink, whether it was sweeping the locker rooms, resurfacing the ice or devoting his time to the kids who love to skate down at Capitol Ice.
continued and included the video tribute to Bob Suter from John Buccigross of ESPN or you can watch the video below...
via Channel3000 (Madison Wi.),
Officials with University of Wisconsin Hockey have confirmed Bob Suter died of a heart attack at Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton Tuesday.
Suter, 57, was part of the Miracle On Ice team that competed in the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. The team, led by head coach Herb Brooks, upset the Soviet Union and then went on to defeat Finland to win gold.
Suter's hockey career ended soon after the 1980 Olympics. He retired in 1982 having never played in an NHL game. He returned to Madison, and opened a sporting goods store, coached youth hockey, and later became a part-owner of Capitol Ice Arena.
Below is a video Bob Suter did with son Ryan Suter before the Sochi Olympics...
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of March Madness, but bringing college basketball’s format to major junior hockey doesn’t seem like a great fit.
In an article from La Presse, translated by Pro Hockey Talk, Sportsnet president Scott Moore floats the idea of turning the four-team round-robin tournament into a 16-team single-elimination bracket, reminiscent of college basketball’s Sweet Sixteen (March Madness actually starts with 68 teams and don’t get me started on the switch from 64). Moore acknowledges that he and the stewards of the Memorial Cup tournament would have to be careful not to spoil what the junior world already has and that’s the right attitude because there are several major barriers to making this work in hockey.
First off, the Memorial Cup is already too long and it only involves four teams. Yeah, I get that all these squads are tired from a long post-season already – except for the hosts, who always seem to bomb out of their league playoffs early nowadays – but the one-game-a-day format is arduous for those not playing the games. Eight contests in 10 days? This isn’t cricket.
Now we’re talking about 15 games – how long would that take?
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org