Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Category: Hockey-Related-Stories

Being Al Montoya

from Al Montoya at The Players' Tribune,

I was seven, playing in a house league at the old Glenview Park District ice arena back home in Illinois. And at that point, on that team, being the goalie was like losing a bet or something. We used to have to pass the goalie bag to a different player before each game. No one wanted the job. And the beat-up bag with recycled equipment didn’t exactly help sell it.

But for me? As a little kid looking for new ways to have fun? Are you kidding?

To me, it was like that bag was filled with gold. What was inside couldn’t have been any more special — the old-school leather pads, one of those ancient chest protectors where it was just the chest and you had to slide on the arms, the whole thing. It may as well have been Patrick Roy’s or Eddie Belfour’s gear. In my eyes, it was beautiful.

And when the bag landed at my feet one day, I strapped on the mask and … I fell in love. Immediately. With that mask on, I felt like I could block out the noise around me and trust my instincts to respond to whatever came my way.

To fully understand why, you have to understand what it’s like to navigate two different worlds: The one shaped by being the son of a Cuban refugee — my mom, who had come to America after fleeing the Castro regime with her parents when she was 10 years old — and the one I had to create for myself, as an everyday American kid born in Chicago.

Let me be totally clear: I’m proud of every part of my identity. But moving between two completely different versions of yourself on a daily basis can be challenging. It’s not that I didn’t know which one I most belonged to. It’s that I didn’t feel like society would let me be everything I was — Cuban, American, the son of an immigrant — all at the same time.

read on

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Wayne Gretzky On His Father Today

via Sportsnet's YouTube page,

Wayne Gretzky gives a heartfelt reading & shares fond memories while reflecting on the life of his father, Walter Gretzky.


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Mark Pavelich Found Dead

from Paul Walsh of the StarTribune,

Olympic "Miracle" hockey star Mark Pavelich was found dead Thursday in a central Minnesota residential treatment center, sources close to Minnesota sports legend said Thursday.

Pavelich, who turned 63 a week ago, died at Eagle's Healing Nest, where he was receiving mental health treatment for the past several months, the sources told the Star Tribune. At the time of his death he was under civil commitment for a violent assault on a North Shore neighbor nearly 1½ years ago,

Police said emergency personnel were called to the residence about 8:30 a.m. Thursday on a report of a death. Emergency dispatch audio disclosed that Pavelich had not been seen since 8 p.m. Wednesday. There is no initial indication pointing to what led to his death.


added 5:49pm, Statement from the NHL is below.

Continue Reading »

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Video- Remembering Walter Gretzky

added 8:28am, Statement from Gary Bettman is below.

Continue Reading »

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Walter Gretzky Passes Away At Age 82

from the CP at Sportsnet,

Walter Gretzky, the ultimate Canadian hockey dad who taught and nurtured the Great One, has died. He was 82.

The father of Wayne Gretzky became a name himself, a constant in Wayne's world. As Wayne's star ascended, Walter remained a blue-collar symbol of a devoted hockey parent in a country filled with them.

Wayne Gretzky confirmed his father's death on Thursday night with a social media post.

``It's with deep sadness that Janet and I share the news of the passing of my dad,'' said Wayne. ``He bravely battled Parkinson's and other health issues these last few years, but he never let it get him down.

``For me, he was the reason I fell in love with the game of hockey. He inspired me to be the best I could be not just in the game of hockey, but in life.''


Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Afternoon Line- Tony McKegney

One house seemed perfect for me and my wife, Sue. We were all set to move, until the homeowner told us there was a problem: They didn't want to rent to us once they found out we were a biracial couple.

The subtext of the situation was clear: Because I'm a Black man, there were certain things the homeowner felt like I couldn't or shouldn't do. And I know they weren't alone in their thoughts. Previously, in the early '80s, one of my team's assistant coaches advised me to start dating a Black woman instead of Sue for similarly ignorant and bigoted reasons.

I ignored that coach, of course. And it wasn't hard to find a different place to live in St. Louis, which is a wonderful city that I've always enjoyed. But the homeowner's and the coach's comments were unwelcomed reminders that people were constantly viewing me through the lens of my race -- even when I just wanted to be a home renter, or a hockey player.

-former NHL player Tony McKegney.  More from McKegney in a special piece he wrote for NHL.com last week.

Filed in: NHL Talk, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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Helping Mark Parrish

from Michael Russo of The Athletic,

It’s 9:45 a.m. on March 10, and Brian Lawton’s pounding on the door of Room 332 at the Residence Inn in Secaucus, N.J.

Bang. Bang. Bang.


Then, louder, and still no answer.

Lawton’s panicking now.

The night before, Lawton had knocked on the same door, and just like now, no answer. He called the room. No answer. He texted and texted. No reply … until just before 10 p.m. when Mark Parrish, his fellow NHL Network analyst, finally texted back.

Parrish vowed then that he was fine, merely tired. He was going to bed early and the two would have breakfast the next morning to talk things out.

Lawton was worried. He had an uncomfortable, heated conversation with Parrish hours earlier.

continued (paid subscription)

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Someone Is Expected To Pay At Least $1M For Wayne Gretzky’s Rookie Card

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

Wayne Gretzky is about to set another record.

A mint condition 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card is expected to become hockey’s first $1-million (U.S.) collectible card, if all goes according to the plan of Heritage Auctions.

“We're really excited to have the king of hockey cards,” said Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Dallas-based director of sports. “The timing is phenomenal as far as the people that are interested in this type of thing and the current market. And Gretzky is the greatest of all time for his sport.”


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Hockey And COVID

from Ariana Eunjung Cha and Karin Brulliardof the Washington Post,

Ice hockey is an anomaly. Scientists are studying hockey-related outbreaks hoping to find clues about the ideal conditions in which the coronavirus thrives — and how to stop it. Experts speculate that ice rinks may trap the virus around head level in a rink that, by design, restricts airflow, temperature and humidity.

The hockey-related cases have been especially striking, epidemiologists have said, because clubs followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention limits on gathering size and had numerous social distancing measures in place. In retrospect, one mistake by some clubs was that until recently masks had been required on ice for only the two players doing the initial faceoff for the puck — although many players wore clear face shields, which theoretically should have a similar effect.

“We’re watching hockey very carefully because it’s the first major sport that’s been played indoors predominantly and also during the winter months,” said Ryan Demmer, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.


Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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