Hockey Headlines

Monday, 16 January 2017

Discovering Hockey

I have been doing a lot of reading lately on a number of sites that often don't pertain to hockey. One of these sites is Vice as I am discovering that they have been featuring a number of excellent articles. Admittedly, I'm not into every article found on the site, but I usually discover a story that catches my attention. Today, though, Vice featured an amazing story that brought memories of a book I read as the site featured an incredible photo collection by Andreas Bruhn about the journey taken by former NHL and AHL coach Ian Andersen.

Andersen's journey is similar to the one that Dave Bidini took for his book Tropic of Hockey, but Andersen's story is different. Instead of observing the various ways that ice hockey is played throughout the Middle East and Far East, Andersen has found a new love for the game in the Himalayan mountains where the thought of hockey might be foreign to most. The game, however, is thriving with the help of a few organizations. I'll let Mr. Bruhn describe the setting.
It was through a previous season coaching in Serbia with Hockey Without Borders that Ian first heard of the North American NGO named HELP Inc Fund, an organization that works with marginalized people in the western Himalayas. Every year they collect donated hockey gear from Canada and the US and invite North American hockey players, coaches and youth leaders to volunteer as a way to democratize a sport previously only available to a lucky few on well funded rinks in the capital city of Leh. Now, a truly communal and possibly the most extreme hockey movement in the world is starting to spread far beyond the administrative capital. It was here, among ancient buddhist temples, Shia Muslim villages and semi nomadic yak herders that Ian spent several months as a travelling hockey coach, sharing his love for the game in its purest form with the people of Ladakh.
It's this discovery of the love of the game that seems to bring Andersen back each year, and I can only imagine how incredible his journey has been. This is the kind of adventure that would open the eyes of many, and I am thankful that Andreas Bruhn has been capturing it through his lens to post both on Vice and on his website.

How beautiful is this photo of Andersen lacing up the skates?
Let me be the first to say that Bruhn's eye for photography is second-to-none. I went through the photos on his website, and his work is outstanding. The key in all of his work, though, is that he works with a charity to capture the images of people receiving the benefits of each charity's work. Whether it be the HELP Inc Fund doing hockey in Ladakh, India, protecting children in the golden triangle in Thailand with DEPDC/GMS, or civilian peacekeeping in South Sudan with Nonviolent Peaceforce, Bruhn's photos have captured moments that very few of us will ever get to see.

Getting back to the Vice piece for a moment, hockey has a way of tearing down borders and bringing people together. It doesn't have to be a big, faceless business. It's about kids in India learning how to skate and figuring out the technique for taking a slap shot. It's about watching a tournament game in the middle of a Hong Kong mall or seeing smiling faces emerge from a rink into 45C weather in Abu Dhabi. It's about taking your kids out to an outdoor rink or pond on a cold, crisp day and letting them be kids. It's about opening up the backyard rink to everyone regardless of skill, age, or gender.

Most of us won't have the experiences that Ian Andersen has had. Most of us won't even leave this continent to do charity work in another culture in another country. That doesn't mean that hockey can't bring us closer together, though. The camaraderie and joy of sport should bring us closer together.

A prime example happened tonight in Edmonton as rookie Jujhar Khaira scored his first NHL goal. He grew up in Surrey, BC where he and his friends played street and ice hockey, but who would have thought some 22 years ago when he was born that he'd be only the third player of Punjabi descent to play in the NHL? With the work that Andersen and HELP Inc Fund are doing in these remote parts of the world, that number will hopefully increase in the future. It won't happen overnight or even in the next decade, but the fact that these kids in some of the most remote locations on the planet are creating new dreams by playing hockey is something we should get behind with every fiber in our bodies.

Ian Andersen, by all measures and criteria, is a hero. On skates.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Rundown - Week 13

It was the battle of the heavyweights this week as the top-four team in Canada West went head-to-head with positions in the standings at stake! This weekend's games legitimately could be the catalyst for the final standings in a month's time as there was some movement up and down the standings. Let's move onto the action as Canada West women's hockey heated up this weekend!

MOUNT ROYAL at LETHBRIDGE: Let's start with the two teams battling for the final playoff spot in Canada West as the Cougars invaded Lethbridge for a date with the Pronghorns. Lethbridge basically had to win both games against Mount Royal to stay in the playoff race, so there were big stakes on the line in this series. The Pronghorns got things started on the right foot - hoof? - when Brett Campbell deflected a Jodi Gentile shot on the power-play that found the back of the net behind Zoe DeBeauville for the 1-0 lead at 8:43. The lead would last for about four minutes, though, as Reanna Arnold was the recipient of a turnover in front of Alicia Anderson, and she chipped the puck past the Lethbridge netminderw while on the power-play to tie the game 1-1 at 13:03. 3:07 after that goal, Megan Carver was in the right spot for a rebound after Anderson stopped an Anna Purschke deflection, and Carver made no mistake in burying the rebound for the 2-1 Cougars lead.

Everything after that goal was denied. Both goaltenders went save for save through the second and third periods to preserve the 2-1 score that saw some monster saves at both ends of the ice. However, after the Pronghorns pulled Anderson to push for the equalizer Tianna Ko would use her speed to find some open ice and deposit the puck into the empty net with 39 seconds to play for the 3-1 Mount Royal victory. DeBeauville stopped 22 shots for the win while Anderson made 28 stops in the loss.

LETHBRIDGE at MOUNT ROYAL: With Lethbridge nine points back of Mount Royal and the series shifting back to Calgary for the back half of the home-and-home, the odds were stacked against the Pronghorns' playoff chances. Would we see the Pronghorns play desperate hockey? Things didn't start well for Lethbridge as the Cougars struck just 2:39 into the game. Sarah Weninger wristed a shot from outside the blue line that handcuffed Jessica Lohues on the blocker side, and the Pronghorns neminder allowed a softie as the puck found the twine for the 1-0 Cougars lead. Goals like that can often take the wind out of the sails of a team, but the Pronghorns only upped the pressure as they would end the period with a 12-7 lead in shots, but trailed on the scoreboard.

You know how in hockey a big save at one end often results in a goal at the other end? Well, Lohues made a great stop on Tianna Ko on a two-on-one only to see her team head down into the Cougars' end and score! Brett Campbell found the loose puck in front of the net on a scramble play, and she slid it past the sprawled Emma Pincott for the 1-1 goal at 15:08! Despite both teams having chances before and after the goal, both Lohues and Pincott held their ground in taking the 1-1 game into the third period.

Mount Royal came out of the gates in third period looking like a team possessed. After clanking the post early on while buzzing the net, the Cougars finally were rewarded. Talia Terry forced a turnover at the Pronghorns' blue line, burst down the right wing, and wired a low shot under Lohues' blocker just inside the post to put Mount Royal up 2-1 at 10:42! The Pronghorns would answer on the power-play as Delaney Duchek found a loose rebound that Pincott couldn't cover, and she dented the twine with 4:38 to play as the teams found themselves in a 2-2 stalemate through end of regulation time.

The first overtime period solved nothing despite it looking otherwise. Somehow, Rachel Piitz's shot off a rebound was determined by the officials to have been kept out by the glove of Lohues despite the celebration by the Cougars, so the teams moved to three-on-three. It was in this fifth period where Reanna Arnold dazzled. At 1:08, Arnold fought off a defender while controlling the puck, went backhand-forehand-backhand on Lohues to deke her out of position, and slid the puck into the undefended net!
Game, set, and match on that beautiful individual effort as Mount Royal takes this game 3-2 in double-overtime! Pincott made 26 saves in the win while Lohues stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: One of the teams looking to hunt down Manitoba and Alberta in the race for second-place is the Saskatchewan Huskies. Calgary isn't mathematically out of the running for that sixth playoff spot yet, but they've almost been relegated to the role of spoiler. Let's just say that Calgary fell short in that role on Friday. While the two teams skated hard in the early going, Bailee Bourassa opened the scoring for Saskatchewan as she kept on an odd-man rush and wired a wrist shot past Sarah Murray on the blocker side at 16:58.

Hannah Heisler used a late first-period power-play to open the scoring in the second period. Heisler deflected a Lauren Zary shot past Murray for the power-play goal and 2-0 lead just 38 seconds into the middle frame. Despite some chances for the Dinos, the Huskies kept coming. Morgan Willoughby skated a puck into the zone and tucked a wrist shot under the glove of Murray at 13:57 to make it a 3-0 Huskies lead. The shots were basically even in this period, but the scoreboard was clearly in Saskatchewan's favour.

An early icing call in the third period came to bite Calgary in the rear. After icing the puck on the opening face-off, the defensive zone draw was won by Saskatchewan's Lauren Zary who got the puck to Lori Herner. Herner went shelf on the short side past Murray for the 4-0 lead just 15 seconds into the period. Calgary showed some life two minutes later when Heather Berzins' shot was deflected up and over Cassidy Hendricks and into the net at 2:43 to make it 4-1, but Rachel Johnson would put the final nail in the coffin on this night when she gathered up her own rebound and slid it past Murray for the 5-1 lead at 8:39. With only four shots to speak of in the final frame, Calgary ran out of time in the 5-1 Huskies win. Hendricks made 22 saves for the victory while Murray stopped 31 shots in a losing effort.

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: The thing about teams who have very little to play for towards the end of the season is that they can often be dangerous. Saturday was a prime example of that fact. Both teams came out strong again, but it would be the Dinos who used the man-advantage to strike first. Megan Grenon final threw the gorilla off her back as her low wrist shot found its way through traffic and past Jasey Rae Book for just the fifth power-play goal of the Dinos' season, but Calgary was up 1-0 at 16:15. 27 seconds later, a rush led by Sage Desjardins saw her initial shot stopped, but Sara Craven took care of business as she made it 2-0!

The second period started with the Huskies looking for revenge, but Kelsey Roberts was equal to the task. Calgary wouldn't sit back, though, as they extended their lead once more. Sara Craven took the pass from Sage Desjardins behind the net, and her centering pass banked in off the skate of Book for her second of the night and the 3-0 Dinos lead at 14:53. Book's night would come to an end at 16:42 as Sarah Hodges pulled her netminder to generate a spark. It seemed to work as the Huskies would cut the deficit to two goals a minute later when Lauren Zary hit Kori Herner in stride as she redirected the puck through the wickets of Kelsey Roberts to make it 3-1 at 17:45.

The third period was a different story as the Dinos went into a defensive shell with the Huskies outshooting them by a 10-5 margin. Neither goaltender would allow a puck to get behind them, though, and this game ended with the Dinos on top by a score of 3-1. Roberts stopped 29 of 30 shots sent her way for the win while Jasey Rae Book took the loss as the goalie of record with eight stops on 11 shots. For the record, Hendricks stopped all five shots she faced in her 21:39 of play.

ALBERTA at REGINA: Both teams had a shot at Manitoba's second-place standing depending on the results from the Manitoba-UBC series. Regulation wins became all that more important! Both teams played more defensively in the opening period that saw Regina outshoot Alberta 6-5, but neither team could solve the other's goaltender as both Morgan Baker and Lindsey Post were perfect through twenty minutes.

And then Alberta exploded. Regan Wright beat Morgan Baker at 8:45 to put the Pandas up 1-0. Autumn MacDougall made it 2-0 at 15:13 when she chipped a rebound past Baker off an Alex Poznikoff shot, and Poznikoff got one of her own at 17:48 when she broke in and got a shot off, but corralled her own rebound and found the back of the net for the 3-0 lead. Alberta's speed and dogged determination - traits they are becoming known for - resulted in a 14-6 advantage in shots as they took the three-goal lead into the third period.

Regina's only goal on the night came on the power-play at 12:52. Jaycee Magwood ripped a shot high that Emma Waldenberger gloved down in the slot where she turned and fired high on Lindsey Post, beating the Alberta netminder for the 3-1 marker. The tenacious defence and team speed that Alberta's been showing for the last couple of months paced them to another victory as they took this one by the 3-1 score. Post made 20 stops for the win while Baker stopped 24 shots in the loss.

ALBERTA at REGINA: With a five-point cushion over the Cougars, Alberta's sights were set on catching Manitoba. Regina, meanwhile, needed to make up ground on Alberta after Friday's loss. Let's just say that one of these teams accomplished their goal. Cayle Dillon scored at 18:27 of the first period while Alex Poznikoff added a second goal at 10:44 of the second period, and that would be more than enough offence for Dayna Owen as she pitched the shutout on Saturday as the Alberta Pandas downed the Regina Cougars 2-0. Owen stopped all 25 shots she faced for the clean-sheet victory while Jane Kish stopped 29 shots in the loss.

UBC at MANITOBA: In what was the featured games of the weekend, the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds came into Manitoba after splitting with Alberta the weekend before. Seventh-ranked Manitoba was looking to extend the losing streak for the T-Birds while trying to make up ground on UBC. It should be noted before we break into this recap that UBC played without Cassandra Vilgrain and Kathleen Cahoon - two big pieces of their offensive game!

Both teams had chances early on, but it would be a turnover at the Manitoba blue line that saw the first goal scored. Alanna Sharman poke-checked the UBC defender but also clipped her skates as she did, causing the defender to fall. Lauren Keen picked up the loose puck and fed Sharman who had already broke down the ice, and the Manitoba sniper made no mistake as she went high glove-side on Tori Micklash to put Manitoba out in front 1-0.

The second period saw UBC establish their dominance as they outshot the Bisons 10-0 in the period, but Rachel Dyck was equal to the task. She made a number of incredible saves to keep UBC off the board as there were at least three chances where goals might have been scored had Dyck not been on her game.

Manitoba`s fortunes in the third period changed as four straight penalties were called on the Thunderbirds. It would be the fourth penalty - a hooking call on Mathea Fischer - where Manitoba finally capitalized. Venla Hovi made a nice move to get in close, and she fed the puck to an open Alanna Sharman as Tori Micklash slid across the net. Sharman recognized this, and fed Hovi on the backdoor for the easy tap-in at 18:59 to put the Bisons up 2-0. UBC pulled the goalie as Manitoba was assessed a late penalty, but they could not solve Rachel Dyck on Friday night as the Bisons claimed the 2-0 victory. Dyck made 25 saves for the shutout win while Micklash stopped 20 shots for her first loss of the season.

UBC at MANITOBA: After an emotional win the night before, Manitoba had to expect UBC to come roaring back on Saturday, and they did just that. Haneet Parhar scored on Rachel Dyck in close just 1:51 into the game, and she added a second on a deflection 4:02 later to put UBC out in front 2-0 before six minutes had elasped. And they weren`t done there. Ten minutes later, Parhar fed Emily O`Neill who was wide-open in the slot and she one-timed the feed through Dyck`s five-hole for a 3-0 lead at 15:28. After a Manitoba time-out, the home squad seemed to get their heads back in the game. Venla Hovi cut down the right wing, cut into the slot, and fired a low shot that found room between Amelia Boughn`s pads at 19:45 to salvage something from the first period in which they were outshot 13-4.

Whatever coach Jon Rempel said in the intermission seemed to have an effect on the Bisons as they played a much more complete second period. After an offensive zone face-off win midway through the period, the puck came back to Caitlin Fyten who fed Erica Rieder for the slap shot. Alana Serhan was positioned perfectly in front of Boughn as she deflected Rieder's shot past Boughn's glove to make it 3-2 at 9:39. While Manitoba still trailed, the middle frame looked a lot more like Friday night as they outshot UBC 8-4.

The third period started the same way as the second period ended, but it was a turnover at the Manitoba blue line that set up the next goal. Mikayla Ogrodniczuk fed Nicole Saxvik after poking the puck away from a Manitoba breakout, and Saxvik fired a laser from the top of the face-off circle high glove-side on Dyck that the netminder couldn't snag for the 4-2 lead at 6:12. Manitoba would continue to press, and it would pay off just past the midway point of the period. Courtlyn Oswald fed Alex Anderson who skated in from the point, and Anderson went forehand-backhand before roofing the puck past Boughn at 12:32 to pull Manitoba within one at 4-3. Despite some incredible pressure late in the game, UBC withstood the barrage to emerge victorious with the 4-3 win. Boughn made 24 stops to record the win while Dyck stopped 18 shots in the loss.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
British Columbia
15-3-2-0
49 68 33
W1
@ SAS
Alberta
10-4-3-3
39 46 30
W3
vs CAL
Manitoba
10-5-3-2
38 59 34
L1
vs LET
Saskatchewan
9-7-2-2
33 42 37
L1
vs UBC
Regina
9-9-2-0
31 47 47
L3
@ MRU
Mount Royal
7-10-1-2
25 35 46
W2
vs REG
Lethbridge
3-13-1-3
14 30 64
L2
@ MAN
Calgary
2-14-1-3
11 30 66
W1
@ ALB

Keep your eyes on your social media accounts this week as more than 20,000 student-athletes will help lead the campus conversation about mental health, joining with fellow students and others in the university community to discuss the impact of mental illness and how to fight the stigma that keeps too many from seeking help. Student-athletes are also hosting events at 100 university games leading up to January 25.

On January 25, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions at no extra charge to participants:
  • Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada customers.
  • Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk.
  • Every view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk.
  • Every post using #BellLetsTalk.
  • Every use of the Bell Let's Talk Snapchat geofilter.
Make your voice heard by joining the voices on social media as Bell and USports programs across this country raise money to help fight the stigma and fund programming to address mental illness. Use the social media cues above, and let's try to bankrupt Bell with our efforts. Five cents may not seem like much, but 20,000 student-athletes can raise $1000 if each student-athlete participates just once. Let's make this the most prosperous Bell Let's Talk day in history!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

No Waiting Period

There are very few players who have had the mandatory waiting period for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame waived upon retirement. A total of ten players have received the honour of being exempted from the waiting period due to their notable contributions to the game, and the exemption was actually cancelled following Wayne Gretzky's induction in 1999 unless a player fulfilled "certain humanitarian circumstances". I'm not sure what that criteria is, but I'm pretty sure that Hayley Wickenheiser deserves that honour for all she has done for the game of hockey both on and off the ice after announcing her retirement on Friday night.

For years, she was regarded as the best female hockey player on the planet. She's won numerous international accolades and achievements. She was an icon and an inspiration for many girls and boys across a number of nations as Wickenheiser's legacy and impact on the game was felt in places where hockey is rarely seen. She's an Olympic gold medalist, a World Champion, a Clarkson Cup champion, a CIS National Champion, a Canada Winter Games gold medalist, an Esso Women's National Champion, and she is one of a few Canadian women to compete for the country in both the Summer and Winter Olympics when she went to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games with the Canadian softball team.

What she did on the ice may never be equaled, but it was what she did for the sport of hockey in Canada and across the globe that should allow her to gain entry without the waiting period. Millions of girls lug their hockey bags in and out of arenas thanks to Canada's #22, and a vast number of those girls have Hayley Wickenheiser to thank for making women's and girl's hockey a part of our Canadian culture as much as men's and boy's hockey is.

Hayley told The Canadian Press' Donna Spencer,
"The greatest stride's been made in the acceptance of girls playing the game," says Wickenheiser. "Any little girl in this country can walk into a hockey rink and no one is going to think twice or look twice. There's female hockey change rooms in a lot of rinks now."

"I remember when I was a kid, I hid in the bathroom and tucked my hair up so no one would know I was a girl. I just went through hell really, to play. Girls don't have to go through hell anymore to play hockey."
It's this reality that a number of girls went through before women's hockey gained any sort of recognition, and Hayley was one of the players on the precipice of this explosion onto the international scene. While there's still a lot of work to be done, Wickenheiser was one of the women who was blazing a path for the women who have now moved into the spotlight.

Born on August 12, 1978 in Shaunovon, Saskatchewan, Hayley began her playing career on the outdoor rinks in the prairie town at age five where she was the lone girl on the boys' team. This fact would remain unchanged until she was 12 when her family moved to Calgary, Alberta, but her new home didn't change her love for her favorite team in the Edmonton Oilers and her favorite player in Mark Messier. Her stories of changing in the bathrooms at rinks in order to play with the boys, however, led to the usual from players, fans, and parents on opposing teams who saw the girl hockey player as different. The words used were not as kind as "different". Her resolve was tested, but she pulled through to make Team Alberta for the U18 Canada Winter Games. It was at that tournament where she scored the winning goal in the gold-medal game and was named most valuable player of the championship game.

Her hard work clearly paid off when a young Hayley Wickenheiser was named as part of the Canadian National Women's Hockey Team at the age of 15 in January 1994. While a number of people thought her age would be a drawback when it came to international experience, Hayley's play quickly dispelled any notions of lack of experience as she helped Canada win gold at the Women's World Championship in Lake Placid, New York in April of 1994. Hayley was the youngest player at the tournament, and her first international point came on an assist.

Wickenheiser would be a mainstay on the Canadian hockey spectrum for the remainder of her career, she opted not to go the traditional route to the NCAA. Instead, she played domestically with the Edmonton Chimos and Calgary Oval X-Treme in preparing for what may have been the biggest moment of recognition for women's hockey when it was added to the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games for the first time. Hayley didn't disappoint at that tournament, scoring two goals and adding six assists in six games, but Canada fell to Team USA in the gold-medal game by 3-1 score. Needless to say, the 20 year-old Wickenheiser looked for opportunities to raise her game yet again as the desire for an Olympic gold medal burned inside her.

She found that opportunity in September of 1998 when Philadelphia Flyers GM Bobby Clarke, impressed by her efforts, reached out to Wickenheiser and invited her to Flyers rookie training camp. While Wickenheiser was never on the short list for making the Flyers, her experience proved valuable for the young lady, and she attended camp a second time in 1999. While he attendance at the camps had news people buzzing over her inclusion and possibly Clarke's sanity, Wickenheiser used the camps to improve her game by competing against men. She told Peter Mansbridge in his book, One On One,
"I went to the Flyers rookie camp for two summers. Bob Clark had asked me after the '98 Olympics to come and train. I didn't go there with the intention of making the Flyers; I went there to get better, and I think I certainly did that. I saw what it took to play at that level."
It would be softball that occupied her life over the next year as Wickenheiser was named to the Canadian National Softball Team that would represent the country in Sydney, Australia at the 2000 Summer Olympics. By playing in the first game, she became only the second woman to compete in the Summer and Winter Games and first to do it in a team sport. While Canada was not a favorite to medal - and they did not - Wickenheiser had bigger dreams on the horizon after leaving Sydney.

With Wickenheiser playing her best hockey, Canada went into the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics as the underdog to the Americans, but it would be Wickenheiser who scored seven goals and added three helpers in five games, including the second goal in the gold medal game, as Canada downed Team USA 3-2 to earn their first gold medal. Hayley was named as the MVP of the tournament after receiving the gold medal. Television networks began to notice the interest from fans as well as ratings services in Canada and the US noted that an audience of 4.536 million with a peak of 6.225 million viewers tuned in to watch the women battle for Olympic gold.

Again, Hayley wasn't content with just sitting back after avenging the loss in 1998. In 2003, she accepted a roster spot with a team in Italy to play in their professional men's league, but the Italian Winter Sports Federation ruled that women were ineligible to play in a men's league. She received an offer from Phil Esposito to join the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones, but decided to explore her options in Europe thanks to the style of play being less physical and more skilled which is similar to the women's game. Eventually, Wickenheiser join Kirkkonummi Salamat in Finland's Division-II League where she scored two goals and added ten assists in 23 games while playing against men. In doing so, she became the first woman to score a goal in a men's professional hockey league. The offer for her to remain with the team was extended, but she declined when it was announced that the team was moving to the Division-I level where the physicality would increase.

I'm going to pause the timeline on her incredible career here simply because of what these achievements have meant. Since suiting up for Flyers rookie camp and a professional season of Finnish hockey, we've seen women such as Shannon Szabados, Hilary Knight, and Angela Ruggiero suit up alongside the men. While only Szabados has played a full season in North American men's professional hockey, the fact that more women are being included to participate in men's leagues is major progress. While I still believe that Robin Herman should be inducted for breaking a major barrier in sports, Hayley Wickenheiser did the same when it came to what she's done and her pioneering has allowed other women to break barriers as well.

Ok, to not make this too long-winded, it's time to provide a synopsis: gold medal and MVP at the 2006 Torino Olympics; becomes all-time leading Olympic goal scorer with her 16th-career goal in a 13-1 win against Sweden on February 17, 2010; gold medal at 2010 Vancouver Olympics; named an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston on June 30, 2011; $14 million recreational complex in Shaunovon named the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre after Hayley; EASports announces that Wickenheiser and Ruggiero would be the first female playable players in NHL '13 on August 28, 2012; earned Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Calgary in June 2013; named Canada's flag-bearer for Opening Ceremony of 2014 Sochi Olympics on January 23, 2014; gold medal at 2014 Sochi Olympics, joining teammates Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette as the first hockey players to win four Olympic gold medals; elected to the International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission on February 20, 2014; memorialized on Canada's Walk of Fame in October 2014; completes Masters in Medical Science in June 2015 at University of Calgary.

We haven't even mentioned her adoption of Noah, the son of her long-time boyfriend Tomas Pacina, in 2001 that kept her grounded when accolades were pouring in. She told TorStar News Service in 2012,
"When you are an athlete, it's the 'disease of me' because you are so concerned about everything about yourself - your performance, what you eat, how much you're sleeping," Wickenheiser said Thursday. "It's always about yourself. Then you have a child and then it suddenly is not always about you.

"I think I'm actually a more patient person since I've become a mother. I've become more empathetic overall. I've learned to really enjoy my time at the rink and love what I do, but when I leave I really can leave it behind now better than I ever could."
While Wickenheiser and Pacina are no longer together, the two have made Noah their priority and they work well together in ensuring that Noah has all the support he needs in his endeavors. Noah is a competitive swimmer, and actually rejected the idea of playing hockey because of the long periods of time that it took his mom away from him. Wickenheiser, though, made sure to include Noah in her teams' celebrations so that he grew up around strong female role models and got a chance to share in her achievements.

In 2012, she helped the Calgary Dinos defeat the University of Montreal Carabins 5-1 in the CIS National Championship game. She helped the CWHL's Calgary Inferno win the Clarkson Cup over Les Canadiennes de Montreal last season. She's a seven-time gold medalist at the Women's World Hockey Championships. She has basically done everything there is to do in hockey with the exception of winning the Stanley Cup, but even that might not be out of her reach if she decides to move into a hockey management role.

The future, however, belongs to Hayley Wickenheiser as she enters medical school. Where she lands is up to her, but the opportunities the future holds for her are endless.

One of those opportunities is her ongoing support and efforts behind Wickfest, the female hockey tournament held in Calgary every November that welcomes players and teams from all over the planet. Along with the support of main sponsor Canadian Tire, Hayley has seen a dream come true seven times as the city of Calgary has played host to this amazing event that features 1500+ players. The tournament has welcomed teams from all over the planet, and even saw a team from Mexico win their age group! How great is that?

On top of her work in growing the game through Wickfest, Hayley also devotes her time to many charitable causes such as JumpStart, Right to Play, KidSport, many cancer-related causes and others related to autism. She's active in the community, and she's touched the lives of thousands, maybe millions, of kids through her work on the ice and in the community.

If there was anyone who has lived up to and beyond the expectations of an athlete who deserves to have her induction period waived, Hayley Wickenheiser has all the boxes checked off. She's expanded the game across borders and in numbers, she's has more gold to her name than some small countries, and she's never forgotten where she came from or her roots when it comes to growing the game in Canada. I'm pretty certain that she fulfills that "certain humanitarian circumstances" criteria bucket completely with examples to spare.

276 career games. 168 goals. 379 points. Canada's all-time leading scorer. Humanitarian. Philanthropist. Winner at every level she's played. Do the right thing, Hall of Fame. Put Hayley Wickenheiser in without a waiting period. It's only fitting for her to join the list of men whose names include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, and Maurice "Rocket" Richard when you consider all she's done for the game in Canada and across the world.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Golyshev Seeks And Destroys

We talked about Jake McCabe's hit on Patrik Laine on The Hockey Show last night and I was on CBC radio talking about it earlier this week. Jake McCabe is a solid hockey player who simply threw a great hit on Laine at the right time, and the results were McCabe's face being bruised and battered from Laine's helmet while Laine is out with a concussion. When players run into one another, sometimes injuries happen. That's simply the laws of physics. McCabe's hit, however, looks like it belongs in figure skating after seeing the hit that Anatoly Golyshev threw on former NHLer Vaclav Nedorost in the KHL yesterday.

Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg held a 2-1 lead over HC Slovan Bratislava late in the third period. Slovan was looking for the equalizer in the hopes of sending this game to overtime or possibly winning in regulation time. With 4:48 to play in the game, let's go to the video and see what happens.
Holy moly. That was a vicious hit. It's never a good sign for a player when the stretcher and medical team are on the ice less than a minute after he goes down. Nedorost, as you can see and might expect, is in a lot of pain. You can see from the camera angle as they get him on the stretcher that his nose is bleeding profusely, and they have him lying somewhat on his side. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not doctor, but I'm going to say that Nedorost is out indefinitely.

The bloodied face of Nedorost makes it pretty clear that Golyshev made contact with the head. The replay around the 51-second mark shows Nedorost's head snapping back in a whiplash-like impact, and the shoulder of Golyshev basically acts as the stopping point for all forward momentum by Nedorost. When Nedorost falls to the ice, he doesn't brace himself and you can clearly see his head and shoulder areas make contact with the ice as the initial point of contact in the fall. If he didn't have a concussion from the whiplash, he most surely has one from the fall.

What makes this hit particularly vicious is that fact that nearly a second elapses after Nedorost has passed the puck away until the time he is hit. It's a late hit, it's a dirty hit, and it's clearly a hit that should come with a suspension for Golyshev. The headshot alone is worthy of a suspension, but the fact that this hit came late should tack on additional games to that suspension. Yes, Golyshev was bee-lining for Nedorost prior to the hit when he still had the puck, but the responsibility is on the player throwing the hit to let up. Golyshev didn't even slow up let alone let up, and he should be suspended for a significant period of time for this dangerous and vicious hit.

The officials recognized the severity of the hit, thankfully, and assessed a five-minute major for a check to the head and a game misconduct for Golyshev's indiscretion. On the power-play, Slovan did score their tying goal as Kyle Chipchura beat Vladimir Sokhatsky with 37 seconds remaining in the game. That power-play and goal seemed to swing the momentum in Slovan's favor because they also scored the overtime winner just 2:05 into the extra period as Jeff Taffe notched the winner off a feed from Jonathan Cheechoo.

I'm quite certain that Slovan is happy about the win, but more concerned about their fallen teammate in Nedorost. No one ever wants to see a dirty hit like that thrown, and it's even worse when it results in what appears to be a major injury. Reports today suggest that Nedorost's season is over with a major concussion, and you have to wonder if the 34 year-old's career might be over after seeing him carted off the ice on a stretcher.

Perhaps the worst part of this whole situation? Nedorost missed some time earlier this season with an injury and appeared to be just getting back into form. Slovan will miss his contributions as he's now sidelined for the foreseeable future thanks to a needless and dangerous play by Anatoly Golyshev who should be suspended for a long time.

Simply brutal.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 225

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, rolls back onto your radio tonight with a show that's all about... hockey? I turned the programming reins over to TJ who wanted a crack at sitting in the big chair for the show, so he's running the board and the show tonight. That also means he's got the topics which he was supposed to share, but I haven't heard anything yet. Which is odd. He's normally good for those things. In any case, I'm pretty sure we're talking hockey tonight. You might want to tune in and see if that's actually the case!

Since I have no idea what we'll talking about tonight, this show preview falls a little short. With TJ running the gauntlet, I assume we'll be talking about the Oilers at some point - maybe even for long periods of time - as TJ brings all the praise to McJesus. There may be some Winnipeg Jets chatter in there after they played a complete game against the Flames only to turn around and display hockey that most TimBits teams wouldn't ice against the Canadiens. There may be some CIS chatter with the top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds coming to town to play against your seventh-ranked Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team, but I guess I'll find out tonight what's on the show at 5:30pm just like you!

I'm sure why you haven't done this yet, but if you own an iDevice or Android device you should have already downloaded the UMFM app. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows, so get to it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today!

If you're all over social media, we try to be as well! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

The phone lines are open at 204-269-UMFM (269-8636) tonight for your thoughts on any of TJ's mystery topics! Feel free to call in and lend a hand as we go through the hockey world via TJ's eyes and mind tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: January 12, 2017: Episode 225

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!