Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago,
Outdoor hockey is coming back to Soldier Field next year.
The third-annual Hockey City Classic is slated for the lakefront stadium on Feb. 7, offering a college hockey doubleheader of the University of Michigan versus Michigan State University and Miami University versus Western Michigan University.
After staging this year's games at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Chicago-based sports and entertainment company Intersport is bringing the event back to the site that hosted the inaugural games in 2013.
from Stan Fischler at the Daily Freeman,
Welcome to Hockeytown.
And I don’t mean Detroit either.
This is Hockeytown, Israel and if that seems a bit strange to you at this time of the year -- or any time year for that matter -- it’s hockey time any time in Metula.
No bigger than Phoenicia, Metula sits on Israel’s Northern border, neck and neck with Lebanon. Its Olympic-sized Canada Centre ice rink actually produces good, young hockey players.
And one reason that it does is that every Summer a former National Hockey League player runs an ecumenical stickhandling camp for Jews, Christians, Druse and Arab kids.
Former Washington Capitals forward Alan May has worked for this Canada-Israel Hockey School and is amazed at how well the varied players get along.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Connor McDavid spent most of Wednesday night with Russians draped over his back.
Unlike a year ago at the Canadian team’s world junior summer camp — when the physical play overwhelmed McDavid at times — the 17-year-old phenom met power with power.
The favourite to be selected first overall in the 2015 National Hockey League draft, McDavid was an offensive wizard in a 5-2 Canada victory in a world junior exhibition game, creating scoring chances on seemingly every shift.
That’s nothing new for the Erie Otters star. What is revealing is how he was getting it done. A prime example came in the second period, when he stayed on the puck and manufactured a play that led to a goal by Nick Ritchie.
Karyn Bye Dietz (River Falls, Wis.), Brian Rafalski (Dearborn, Mich.), Jeff Sauer (St. Paul, Minn.) and Lou Vairo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014, it was announced today by USA Hockey.
“The class of 2014 is an extraordinary collection of individuals that have had an immensely positive impact on hockey in our country,” said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. “Cumulatively, they have been involved at every level of hockey and this group is a big reason why our sport has advanced to the point it has in the United States."
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
A first glance, the hockey players practicing at Lakewood Ice this week looked like any team anywhere in the world.
Their drills were familiar, and so was their attentive posture when they paused to watch their coach diagram a play on a whiteboard. The difference became clear when the session ended: Players gathered in a semicircle near the boards to tap their sticks and bow to Coach Craig Johnson, a charming gesture of respect that stemmed as much from gratitude as cultural obligation.
They're members of the Korea University men's hockey team and they're in Southern California until Aug. 22 to practice, train and learn from coaches in the Ducks' development program. They hope to accelerate the improvement of their skills before the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but it's a tough task for a nation with a talent pool of only about 2,100.
The national team — which will be coached by former King Jim Paek and is expected to draw on the Korea University squad — is ranked 23rd in the world. Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, said this year he'd like to see Korea's team rank 18th or better before he'd consider granting it an automatic Olympic berth because he wants to avoid lopsided results in the Games.
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Michael Leighton won’t be returning to Russia for the upcoming Kontinental Hockey League season, but not for the reason you might think.
The former Windsor Spitfires goalie who calls LaSalle home was all set to join the expansion HC Sochi team for his second season of KHL action when illness felled Leighton.
Unable to attend training camp – KHL teams open camp in mid-to-late July leading to the early September start of regular-season play – Leighton and HC Sochi officials mutually agreed to void the contract he’d signed with the team.
“I was with Sochi and got sick and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it there,” Leighton, 33, explained. “They have the right to look for another goalie and I agreed that I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there, so we both agreed to terminate the contract.”...
During the 2013-14 campaign, he suited up for Donbass Donetsk, the only Ukrainian-based franchise in the KHL and a city that currently finds itself in the midst of the armed conflict within that country....
“Where I was last year, it was fine all year until close to the end of the year and into the playoffs,” Leighton said. As troubles mounted in the area, the Donbass club moved to a base in Bratislava, Slovakia, playing its playoff games on the road.
“It did get kind of scary, because we weren’t playing at home,” Leighton said. “Teams didn’t want to travel to the Ukraine.
“When the season was done and I was home, I was happy that I was home.”
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
Canada's largest private-sector union, which is trying to organize major junior hockey players across the country, is scheduled to meet on Monday with Ontario's minister of labour to discuss the working conditions faced in the Canadian Hockey League by its 1,700 mostly teenaged players.
Jerry Dias, Unifor's president, said he plans to ask Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to establish a task force charged with scrutinizing the business of junior hockey.
Dias told TSN that when he met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne three weeks ago at Queen's Park, Wynne brought up the issue of working conditions in junior hockey with him. Dias said Wynne told him she is interested in learning more about whether players get a fair share of the game's profits.
Flynn's spokesman Craig MacBride declined to comment.
Wynne's spokeswoman Zita Astravas said both the premier and Flynn have already met with Dias.
"Discussions covered a wide range of topics," she said. "Unifor is an important partner and our government looks forward to a positive relationship with labour."
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
There will be no Ukrainian team in the KHL next season as the hockey world begins to wonder about the effects of a long-term conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Donbass Donetsk — Ukraine’s only entry in the KHL — is on sabbatical for one season, a decision reached in June after the team’s arena was sacked, looted and set afire in May.
While most believe hockey will carry on as usual — or at least with blinders on — there is a belief that should tensions worsen, the KHL will suffer in terms of the level of play and from U.S. economic sanctions.
So far there has been no mass migration from the KHL, but it’s worth noting that the league’s signing season occurred largely before the current escalation that includes the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.
“I don’t anticipate that as a cause and effect at this point,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when asked about the possibility players would leave Russia. “I assume if the conflict is prolonged and/or worsens that may change, but I think it’s a fairly remote consideration for most players right now.”
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korea Ice Hockey Association has announced Jim Paek as the new head coach of the men’s national team. Paek was the first Korean-born player to play in the National Hockey League. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the ninth round, 170th overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.
A two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, Paek was also named as a Program Director of the national team team along with his new head coaching duties. The former defenceman will replace Byoen Sun-Wook, who coached the team for three years but resigned after Korea was relegated at the 2014 IIHF World Championship Division I Group A.
Paek will be counted on to guide Korea as it looks to gain qualification to the 2018 Winter Olympics, set to be held on home soil in PyeongChang.
“The idea of coaching the National Team in the Olympics is one of my dreams. I've always wanted to help develop Korean hockey. I've returned to Korea many times to run hockey schools and coached Korean teams travelling to Canada. What a great opportunity I have now.”
Update: MLive's Peter J. Wallner confirms:
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.
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