Kukla's Korner Hockey
Mark Pysyk was drafted in the first round, 23rd overall by the Buffalo Sabres. The Oil Kings’ captain may not be an Oilers’ prospect, but for now he is still a member of the extended Oilers’ family. The emphasis on that statement should be for now. As Bruce McCurdy notes, it will not be a surprise if the young defenceman gets a long look by the Sabres. This summer, Pysyk received his second invitation to a Team Canada U20 development camp this summer and is hoping to have made the most of it. In 2009 Pysyk won gold representing his country at the U18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament, the 2009 and 2010 Subway Super Series, and in December 2010 Pysyk was invited to the World Junior Camp but didn’t make the final cuts to play in the Holiday tournament. This could be the young defenseman’s year.
This spring, Team Canada named Vancouver Giant’s head coach Don Hay to coach the 2012 Team Canada World Junior team. The last time the championships were in Alberta, Canada took the gold. Coincidently, Don Hay was the team’s head coach. 1995 was also a year that a young Ryan Smyth played for Team Canada. Through the seven games played, Smyth scored 2 goals and 5 assists.
The Sunday night crowd in Fort McMurray was large for Team Canada’s second consecutive night of split squad action. The newly renovated Casman Cenre was unsurprisingly sold out. Not many hockey fans can pass up a live game of this caliber on an August night. The city of Fort McMurray currently hosts an AJHL team, the Oil Barons and I often wonder if they might support a WHL team some day.
“Today is the best day of my life!” Proclaimed Noah, a young Edmonton Journal contest winner. His prize, a chance to watch the Team Canada U20 game from the pressbox, a behind the scenes tour and memories to last a lifetime. “We got to meet Ryan Smyth!” The contest winner, with his youthful smile and energy went on. There were two winners of this contest, and thankfully only one broke my heart when he told me that he was not an Oilers fan. The list of teams he does cheer for was long, and one team pains me too much to even type. Each winner was dressed in a team Canada hockey sweater signed by the players at this camp, one red and the other white.These of course were far from the only youths in attendance at this event and it is wonderful to see so many who still dream of playing hockey at it’s highest levels and not for the contracts, but for the sheer love of the game.
In a recent youth hockey game between the Santa Clara Blackhawks 16AA team and the San Diego Gulls 16AA team, there are allegations that the Blackhawks basically threw the game in order to force another team to play an extra game in the tournament.
From the California Amateur Hockey Association website:
The entire coaching staff of the Santa Clara Blackhawk 16AA team has been suspended indefinitely by Steve Laing, President of the California Amateur Hockey Association. Mr. Laing, in suspending the coaches stated, “The entire coaching staff is being suspended from all USA Hockey activities pending a disciplinary hearing resulting from a game played on Sunday February 27, 2011. During a game between the Santa Clara Blackhawk 16AA team and the San Diego Gulls 16AA team, while competing in the CAHA play downs to establish a berth in the CAHA State championship playoffs, there is credible evidence that they participated in a plan, scheme or design to intentionally lose the game. Such behavior is contrary to USA Hockey’s Coach’s Code of Conduct.”
The video below from NBC Los Angeles notes that in the game, the Blackhawks didn’t take a single shot on net—ultimately losing 5-0—and it was the goal differential that forced another team in the tournament into an extra game. For more details, watch the video. (And our thanks to a KK reader for pointing us to this story).
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, “
Then there are times when I’ll walk into a room and I’ll stand there and go ‘Why am I here again?’ – and you just don’t know. You don’t know if it’s from all the contact you’ve had over the years or what.
“With everything that’s gone on, with so many of the guys. … I mean, we had serious concussions and you’d sit on the bench and the trainer would keep asking if you were okay to go.
“So I keep an eye on it, on whether there are some things I’ve slipped on or whatever. It’s very, very real.”
McSorley still lives in Los Angeles these days, but went home to Ontario for Christmas and took in three or four minor-hockey games during that time. The always chatty and occasionally provocative McSorley said he was “shocked” by how poorly equipped the players were to protect themselves; and how vulnerable they were on the ice.
“I don’t know how many kids were there, facing the forwards, or going to the boards and spinning, where they put their backs to the other players. I think that has to be addressed.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
USA Hockey is considering a proposal that would make bodychecking illegal for all players under 13, an initiative sure to ignite the growing debate over the proper time to introduce contact at the grassroots level.
The proposed measure was raised at USA Hockey’s annual winter meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., and according to the association’s senior director of hockey development, Kevin McLaughlin, it was not designed primarily to address safety issues.
“It is a skill development initiative first,” said McLaughlin, who explained that his organization’s research found that bodychecking at the peewee level was significantly distracting players from improving their skills at a critical time in their development. Too often, he said, players of that age were either too focused on hitting or trying to avoid a hit.
from Mke Brudenell of the Detroit Free Press,
Coach Pat Peake turned to the ring to help his junior hockey team become more confident on the rink.
Peake brought in a former Kronk Golden Gloves champion, Charlie Peters, to teach boxing to his team of 14-year-olds. Although fighting is heavily policed in junior hockey and can lead to suspension, boxing helps teach self-defense and hand-eye coordination.
Peake invited Peters, who trained with and fought alongside Tommy Hearns as an amateur, to Viking Arena in Hazel Park, where the team is located.
from Hockey Calgary,
Hockey Calgary will be the first amateur sports association in Canada to adopt the Respect in Sport Parent Education Program. The one-hour online course focuses on a variety of topics including player development, and interaction with the children, coaches and other parents. It will give parents a tool to evaluate their own behaviour and recognize their natural influence. “It sets a standard of appropriate rules for everyone. And, it empowers good parents to be better,” said Wayne McNeil, cofounder of Respect in Sport.
“Hockey Calgary’s number one priority is providing a safe and fun environment for our players,” said Perry Cavanagh, president of Hockey Calgary. “The partnership with Respect in Sport will help us promote our values by educating and supporting all levels of involvement, parents included.”
from USA Hockey,
In our first episode you’ll hear Doug Wilson, former NHL hockey player and current general manager of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, discuss how parents and coaches can encourage youth athletes to focus on three main principles - effort, learning and bouncing back from mistakes.
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.
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