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NHL Players Will Not Participate In The Olympics

NEW YORK (Dec. 22, 2021) – With the National Hockey League’s regular-season schedule having been materially disrupted as a result of increasing COVID cases and a rising number of postponed games, the National Hockey League announced today that NHL Players will not participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“The National Hockey League respects and admires the desire of NHL Players to represent their countries and participate in a ‘best on best’ tournament. Accordingly, we have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our Players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events -- 50 games already have been postponed through Dec. 23 -- Olympic participation is no longer feasible. We certainly acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by the International Olympic Committee, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Beijing Organizing Committee to host NHL Players but current circumstances have made it impossible for us to proceed despite everyone’s best efforts. We look forward to Olympic participation in 2026.

“Our focus and goal have been and must remain to responsibly and safely complete the entirety of the NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs in a timely manner. Therefore, with stringent health protocols once again in place, we will begin utilizing available dates during the Feb. 6-22 window (originally contemplated to accommodate Olympic participation) to reschedule games that have been, or may yet be, postponed.”

added 10:11am, Statement from Don Fehr below.

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Bill Guerin Named GM For Team USA, Chris Drury Will Serve As Asst. GM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Bill Guerin, who has quickly reshaped the NHL’s Minnesota Wild in his three years as the team’s general manager, has been named general manager of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team it was announced today by USA Hockey.

In addition, Chris Drury, who is in his first year as president and general manager of the New York Rangers, has been named assistant general manager of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.

“It’s certainly great to have Bill and Chris working together in building our Olympic team,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “They were exceptional players in their day, both played in the Olympics, and today they’re accomplished leaders of NHL clubs. Our team is in good hands.”

Guerin and Drury will work with John Vanbiesbrouck, an Olympian and assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey; the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group; and the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey coaching staff, in building the final U.S. roster, which is expected to be unveiled in mid-January.

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Team China Will Play In The Olympic Hockey Tournament

via Sportsnet,

The International Ice Hockey Federation confirmed that China will be granted a host exemption for the men's hockey tournament at the upcoming Beijing Winter Games.

The status of the Chinese men's team was up in the air in recent weeks due to questions about the team's eligibility and competitiveness.

The team is made up mostly of players on the KHL's Kunlun Red Star -- including several North American-born players. Kunlun competed in two test games against KHL opponents in mid-November with IIHF officials closely monitoring to determine if the team would be competitive against NHL competition in the Olympics.

The 12-team men's hockey tournament features three groups of four teams. China is in Group A with Canada, the United States and Germany -- the reigning silver medalists.

I expect the lights will start flickering in the arena when the score is 1-0, they may go out at 15-0.

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The New Members Of The Hockey Hall Of Fame

from the CP at TSN,

Kevin Lowe waited 19 years for the call.

Doug Wilson's phone sat silent longer still — 24 consecutive springs of eligibility before it finally rang.

So another 365 days for the Hockey Hall of Fame's pandemic-delayed class of 2020 was probably no big deal, right?"

"Not at all," Lowe said with a laugh Friday. "We got to relish the moment even longer."

Lowe and Wilson are joined in the 2020 player category by  and  — elected in their first years of eligibility — and Canadian women's national team goalie Kim St-Pierre, while Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is going in as a builder.

"I never even viewed the Hall of Fame as a reality," said Wilson, GM of the San Jose Sharks. "It's just a privilege that it happened."

"We got to be a unique class," Lowe added.

The inductees were originally announced following the 18-member selection committee's vote back on June 24, 2020, but the ceremony was delayed a year because of COVID-19.

The hall, which will officially welcome its newest members Monday, then made the decision to not have a class of 2021 so the current group wouldn't have to share centre stage.

"The health of people was the priority," St-Pierre said. "We knew that this day would happen."

A former captain and franchise icon with the Flames, Iginla put up 525 goals and 1,095 points in 1,219 games from 1996 through 2013 with Calgary before stops in Pittsburgh, Boston, Colorado and Los Angeles. The winger finished with 1,300 points in 1,554 regular-season contests to go along with 68 points (37 goals, 31 assists) in 81 playoff outings.

continued and you can watch the induction ceremony on the NHL Network and TSN5 beginning at 8:00pm ET.

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Video- 2020-21 HHOF Class Introduced Tonight At Scotiabank Arena

via Sportsnet's YouYube page,

Watch as the Toronto Maple Leafs hold a pregame ceremony for the class of 2020-21 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees which features names such as Jarome Iginla, Kevin Lowe and Marian Hossa.

Ken Holland is first.

 

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A Successful Free Hockey Day In The U.S.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – More than 8,000 children across the country had the opportunity to try hockey for the first time last Saturday (Nov. 6) during the first of two national USA Hockey Try Hockey For Free days this season. Presented by SportsEngine, USA Hockey’s Try Hockey For Free days are focused on providing an opportunity for children that haven’t tried hockey to do so without cost.

Certified volunteers and coaches provided instruction and fun games for children to play on the ice, and host sites provided equipment for children to borrow.

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China’s Olympic Hockey Team Not Ready For Prime Time

from Thomson Reuters at CBC,

China should brace for a string of blowout losses at the 2022 Beijing Olympic men's ice hockey tournament unless the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) steps in and throws the hosts a lifeline, warned two international coaches.

Dave King, one of the most respected names in international hockey who was head coach of the Canadian men's national team for three Olympics and worked with Japan to prepare them for the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, told Reuters scores could be "scary" with China in a group alongside powerhouses Canada and the United States.

Jim Paek, who coached and prepared South Korea for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, voiced similar concerns particularly with the world's top player returning to the Olympics stage after the NHL sat out the showcase four years ago.

"When you have host countries that are allowed to automatically qualify this is what you get," warned King, who has also coached in the NHL, Russia, Sweden and Germany. "What is very important is to have a plan and stay with it and I don't think the Chinese did a very good job with that, they have been all over the map.

"To me there is nothing a coach can do at this point, there is no magic wand.

"It's scary, it really is. They are in way over their head for sure."

continued

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Stan Bowman Steps Down As GM Of U.S. Hockey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Stan Bowman informed USA Hockey late this afternoon that he is stepping down as general manager of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.

“In light of what’s happened today, I think it’s in the best interests of USA Hockey for me to step aside,” said Bowman. “I’m grateful to have been selected and wish our team the very best in Beijing.”

“We thank Stan for all his efforts,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “He’s been a major contributor to American hockey for a long time.”

USA Hockey expects to announce a replacement for Bowman in the near future

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IIHF Wants Harsher Sanctions For Racist Incidents

from Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber of Reuters at the Toronto Sun,

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) will assess the need for harsher sanctions in response to a racist incident in Ukraine and plans to pressure leagues around the world to amend their rule books to define sanctions for racist behaviour, the new IIHF president said.

Luc Tardif took office as head of the IIHF a day before the hockey world was rattled by footage of Andriy Deniskin, a forward at HC Kremenchuk in the Ukrainian Hockey League (UHL), taunting HC Donbass defenceman Jalen Smereck, who is Black, by pretending to peel and eat a banana.

Smereck, 24, took a leave of absence after the incident. HC Donbass announced on Sunday it had reached a mutual agreement to terminate the American’s contract.

continued

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Female On-Ice Officials Announced By The AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson announced today that the league’s roster of on-ice officials for the 2021-22 season includes female referees and linespeople for the first time.

The first AHL game ever officiated by a female referee will be the Lehigh Valley at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton contest this Saturday, Oct. 16, with Katie Guay working alongside Brandon Schrader. On Sunday, Oct. 17, Kelly Cooke will be teamed with Beau Halkidis for Rochester at Utica, and Jacqueline Zee Howard joins Carter Sandlak for Lehigh Valley at Hershey. Schrader, Halkidis and Sandlak are among 10 referees and six linespeople who will split their time between the AHL and NHL this season.

Other new members of the AHL refereeing staff include Laura White, Samantha Hiller, Elizabeth Mantha and Amanda Tassoni, while Kendall Hanley, Kirsten Welsh and Alexandra Clarke have been added to the AHL staff as linespeople. All have been part of the NHL and NHL Officials Association’s mentorship program and have been invited to attend the NHL Exposure Combine.

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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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