Sunday, 31 July 2022

Defending The Castle

Manon Rheaume's impact on hockey certainly will never be forgotten thanks to her appearance in the Tampa Bay crease in September 1992. She broke the NHL's gender barrier with her preseason debut, but we're still waiting for a team to give a woman a shot in a regular season game three decades later. That's not to say that what Rheaume did wasn't important because it certainly opened the door for other women to dream big and pursue those dreams. What shouldn't be lost here is that Rheaume did play meaningful minutes in another league that year as she broke barriers in the IHL with the Atlanta Knights! Today's article focuses on one game on December 3, 1992, though, as the Atlanta Knights played host to the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles as Rheaume smashes another glass ceiling that day!

We'll start back on November 4, 1992, though, when the Atlanta Knights, short on goaltending help, turned to Manon Rheaume for help. The Knights offered Rheaume a three-year deal on that Wednesday, and she agreed to the terms as she became the first woman signed to an IHL team in league history. We're not here to celebrate that achievement, though, as there will be others.

As Brian Landman of the Tampa Bay Times explained, "When Lightning goaltender Wendell Young dislocated his right shoulder Sunday, the team called up David Littman from Atlanta, leaving the IHL club with just goaltender J.C. Bergeron", prompting Atlanta general manager Richard Adler to reach out to Rheaume for immediate help. With Rheaume agreeing to the deal, Atlanta's goaltending situation was shored up nicely.

Rheaume had been working with the Knights following her NHL preseason debut in a strength and conditioning program as the Lightning were committed to seeing Rheaume succeed. With her signing in November, the realization of being a professional hockey player was no longer just a dream, and there was a chance that Rheaume would be in a Knights uniform sooner rather than later. From her own comments, it seems that this was contract was just a matter of time.

"It's a good chance for me," Rheaume told Cammy Clark of The Washington Post in September 1992. "I don't have to worry about going to school or working to pay for my hockey. My job now is hockey."

Atlanta hockey fans may have been anxious to see Rheuame in action, but it would be one month from her signing that we'd actually see her make a little history in becoming the first woman to play hockey in the IHL. Fans who packed the Omni Arena on December 3, 1992 would finally get that chance as David Littman, who stopped three shots in the first period against Salt Lake City, was pulled to start the second period as Manon Rheaume took her spot in the Atlanta crease!
In watching that clip, it should be noted that Rheaume wore #1 in her debut, but she would finish the season wearing #33. I'm not sure how the IHL allowed this mid-season number change, but Mike Greenlay was wearing #1 when the season ended while Rheaume was relegated to the third-string role. For some reason, though, Knights head coach Gene Ubriaco pulled Rheaume in this game after she gave up a goal despite her only playing 5:49 and stopping three of four shots. Why? According to Ubriaco, it was planned this way.

"This was different than the other game," Rheaume told reporters after the game. "The other game was an exhibition. It's not the same. Gene told me before the game that I would play five minutes at the start of the second period."

The Associated Press asked Ubriaco about Rheaume's short stint in the net, and he confirmed Rheaume's comment by saying that "he told her and starting goalie David Littman of the plan before the game, but didn’t tell the rest of the team until after the scoreless first period."

In one of the cooler things I've seen anywhere, the video of the full game below shows Rheaume making notes after she's pulled by Ubriaco. I don't know what she was writing, but I've never seen a goalie making notes like that on the bench during a game. That's a new one for me, but maybe it was Rick Lanz, #6 sitting beside her, who wanted her autograph? Or course, I'm kidding about that, but I'd love to see the notes that Rheaume took on the bench in her career. They'd be fascinating, I imagine!

Before we get too carried away with "Manon mania", she made some other historic steps in the game besides getting a quick taste of action. Salt Lake City's Shawn Heaphy, the player who recorded the first professional regular-season shot against Rheaume, was a solid goal scorer for Salt Lake City in 1992-93 as he found the back of the net 29 times to finish second in goal-scoring for the Golden Eagles.

Kevin Wortman, the player whose goal was disallowed, led the Golden Knights in scoring by a defenceman in '92-93 with 63 points, 13 of which were goals. It should be noted that he was an eighth-round pick of the Flames at 168th-overall in 1989 when NHL Entry Drafts were twelve rounds deep! You normally don't find solid scoring defenders at that position in the draft, but there were two notable defenders that were selected below Wortman who had significant NHL careers: Vladimir Malakhov by the New York Islanders at 191st-overall in the tenth round, and Vladimir Konstantinov by the Detroit Red Wings at 221st-overall in the eleventh round!

Todd Gillingham, the player whistled for the phantom goaltender interference, finished the season with 267 PIMs, two of which were earned in that sequence shown above. It should be noted that Gillingham also scored one of his 12 goals that season after leaving the box in this game - Rheaume's only goal-against in her 5:49 of ice-time - as Todd Gillingham is the trivia answer to the player who scored the first professional regular-season goal against Manon Rheaume.

How did Rheaume assess her first professional regular-season game?

"I was a little bit nervous," Rheaume told reporters. "You learn by your mistakes. I'll learn what to do."

Good players never stop looking for ways to get better, and Rheaume's answer shows she wasn't just content in being "the first". She wanted to continue to build on her successes experienced to that moment, and we'd see her do a number of other historic things in the years to come including her first professional win and more. For those wondering, she was not the goalie of record in this game as the Knights fell 4-1 to the Golden Eagles as Andrei Trefilov was the winner for the Golden Eagles in this game.

Wanna watch the full game? I went digging into YouTube and found the full three-hour presentation of this game between the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles and the Atlanta Knights. If you just want to watch Rheaume's portion of the broadcast, Prime Network runs a feature on Manon from 52:34 to 56:20 during the first intermission, and her game action runs from 1:01:51 until 1:11:50. Enjoy this historic moment as we look back 30 years on Rheaume's regular season debut!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 30 July 2022

The ECHL Radio Map

There's no denying that Charles Barkley is a hockey fan. The man has been talking up hockey for years on TNT broadcasts and to any microphone in front of him long before TNT acquired NHL broadcast rights. He's attended hockey games, he's talked to the NHL broadcast teams, he's given his opinion on the playoffs, and he generally seems to be a fan of the game. While I don't know how much hockey he actually watches while he's working for TNT as a basketball analyst, he may want to start listening to more games when it comes to squeezing in his love for the game! There are still lots of radio broadcasts to be heard from every city across North America, so Barkley should have a number of broadcasts from which to choose if he needs a hockey fix!

If you missed the first two of these, the NHL radio streams can be found here while the AHL radio streams can be heard here. We'll add another group of radio broadcasts and audio streams for ECHL teams today as there are likely teams and players that you want to follow as they work their way up professional hockey's ladder while competing for the Kelly Cup!

Shown below are the streams for the teams. All you have to do is click the link for the team whose broadcast you want to listen. Most of these streams are full-fledged radio stations so you can certainly click to listen to anything else at any time, but if you're hunting for hockey these are the links you want if you're tuning in for an ECHL game!

I'll be working on other leagues as well, but, for now, here are all the ECHL radio streams for your enjoyment!

WCQL Hits 95.9 FM
WCQL Hits 95.9 FM
WCQL Hits 95.9FM

Allen Americans Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Americans control.

Atlanta Gladiators Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Gladiators control.

Cincinnati Cyclones Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Cyclones control.

ESPN 770AM
This is the only feed for ESPN Southwest Florida that worked.

WOWO 1190AM
WOWO 107.5FM
WOWO 107.5FM

Greenville Swamp Rabbits Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Swamp Rabbits control.

The Ticket 95.3FM
The Ticket 95.3FM
The Ticket 95.3FM

Indy Fire Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Fire control.

Iowa Heartlanders Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Heartlanders control.

Jacksonville Icemen Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Icemen control.

The Touch 95.5FM
The Touch 1660AM
The Touch 95.5FM

Kansas City Mavericks Stream
The Mavericks use their own audio service during the season.

Maine Mariners Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Mariners control.

Newfoundland Growlers Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Growlers control.

Norfolk Admirals Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Admirals control.

Orlando Solar Bears Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Solar Bears control.

Rapid City Rush Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Rush control.

Reading Royals Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Royals control.

The Ghost Pirates have yet to announce their radio broadcast options for their inaugural season.

South Carolina Stingrays Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Royals control.

Fox Sports The Gambler 1230AM
Fox Sports The Gambler 1230AM
These two links are most reliable.

The Lions had two different stations broadcast a handful of games. That's just dumb.

Tulsa Oilers Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Oilers control.

Utah Grizzlies Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Grizzlies control.

Mix 97.3FM
All other links lead back to the iHeart Radio link above.

Wichita Thunder Mixlr
Mixlr is an audio platform with content the Thunder control.

Nash Icon 98.9FM
Nash Icon 98.9FM
Nash Icon 98.9FM

There are your links. Clearly, as we get deeper into the minor professional ranks, it seems that more and more teams are turning to online streams through services such as Mixlr where they control the broadcast and reap all the advertising benefits. I'm not against this idea as it works for the smaller outlets, but there is greater exposure on mainstream radio both locally and from other parts with the station's online stream.

For teams that do use Mixlr, it feels like they're missing a biogger picture to really expand their coverage of the team. Playing select games from the past few seasons, doing more podcasts and interviews, and running features on all things surrounding those teams seems elementary to me, but maybe I just see opportunity where others don't. It would be fun to hear some old games where history was made or there was a special moment. To each their own, I guess.

In any case, I'll work on more leagues and add them here as I complete each league's radio partner roster. For now, you can literally tune into any broadcast whether your favorite team is at home or on the road, unless you cheer for Trois-Rivières whose broadcasts were split between two outlets and only have select games on. In any case, have some fun going through the different radio broadcasts!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 29 July 2022

Komets Get A Star

I often wonder how some players fall through the cracks when teams are desperate to fill specific roster spots, but that's how hockey goes, I guess. I say that because the man to the left, former UBC Thunderbirds netminder and 2022 Canada West goaltender of the year Rylan Toth, was available to be signed by a number of NHL and AHL teams, yet his agent's phone never received an offer with which the two could be happy, it seems. I say that because Toth did sign a contract to play professional hockey in 2022-23, but it's not with an NHL or AHL club who could likely use a man of his talents.

Yesterday, the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets announced that they had signed Rylan Toth for what appears to be a one-year deal unless someone comes along and plucks him off Fort Wayne's roster. Toth, who also won the U SPORTS Goaltender of the Year award, was a Vancouver Canucks EBUG last season so it's not like the guy can't be trusted to stop pucks. If you're an AHL team needing a goaltender, this guy was available and you opted not to call him despite his gaudy numbers and his list of accolades at the university level. That makes sense, right?

Toth played three seasons in the WHL with Red Deer and Seattle where he appeared in 158 games as he posted a 90-72-13 record on the strength of a 2.76 GAA and a .906 save percentage in those games. He jumped to the UBC Thunderbirds for the next five seasons between 2017 and 2022, and he continued to post impressive numbers as he went 30-29-7 with a 2.82 GAA and a .906 save percentage. Consistency was always one of Toth's highlights, and these numbers prove that fact.

What the stats won't tell you, though, is that Toth was often the best player on the ice night-in and night-out for UBC. While he never scored any goals in his career, he often made stops that he had no business making to keep the Thunderbirds in games. That was witnessed in the 2019-20 Canada West playoffs where Toth made 257 stops on 280 shot attempts in eight games - an average of 32 stops on 35 shots per game!

No other goaltender came close to facing that much rubber, and Toth finished the playoffs 4-4-0 with a 2.90 GAA and a .918 save percentage. His goaltending helped the 9-14-5 Thunderbirds upset the 19-8-2 Mount Royal Cougars in the quarterfinal before shocking the world by defeating the 23-6-0 Alberta Pandas in three games as Rylan Toth literally stood on his head in all three semifinal games.

For all the teams that needed organizational depth at the goaltending level last season, Toth would have immediately upgraded the depth chart for those teams. Vancouver specifically used him and Trinity Western's Talor Joseph on the same night as EBUGs at both the NHL and AHL levels, yet they opted not to sign him. Winnipeg, who watched Eric Comrie leave via free agency, opted to sign David Rittich, who likely should be in the AHL, over Rylan Toth who could be a starter in the AHL. Toronto, who had all sorts of injury problems in their crease last season, also chose not to sign the former Thunderbird. To me, this is baffling considering how good Toth has been for so long.

Instead, Fort Wayne, Indiana will be the place where Toth can sharpen his skills once more and, possibly, continue to steal games for his team. The irony is that the Komets just entered into an affiliate agreement with the Edmonton Oilers and Bakersfield Condors - two teams who certainly can use some depth and consistency in the crease at both the NHL and AHL levels. Instead, the Oilers opted to sign Calvin Pickard to a deal, and he'll be tasked to keep Bakersfield competitive this season, so it seems Toth will have to battle his way up the Oilers' depth chart if they run into injury problems in the crease this season.

Fort Wayne may enter the 2022-23 ECHL season with one of the best goaltenders who has yet to play a full season of professional hockey. Rylan Toth will win the Komets hockey games, and he may just earn himself a few more accolades along the way. What is certain is that Toth will battle to keep his team in every game no matter what the odds are, and, if you're a Komets player, you don't mind going into battles knowing that the last line of defence is ready to do whatever it takes to win hockey games.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 28 July 2022

The Hockey Show - Episode 514

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight to the comfy studios of UMFM where both Teebz and Jason will chat. You may think that the final week of July has very little in the way of hockey chatter, but there's one story that simply has to be analyzed from every angle due to how big the fallout could be. Tonight's show will discuss matters that are PG-rated, so we recommend that parents know that this won't just be our normal hijinks on this episode.

Remember: this is a PG-rated show, so keep that in mind. As the Hockey Canada scandal continues to set off new fires within the walls of Hockey Canada as their executives sit before a House of Commons committee, The Hockey Show feels it might be time to bring everyone up to speed on what has been said, what has or hasn't been done, and the fallout from these decisions. There have been multiple witnesses that have testified in front of the committee - Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith, former Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney, Hockey Canada chief financial officer Brian Cairo, insurance broker BFL Canada CEO Barry Lorenzetti, and Danielle Robitaille of Henein Hutchison LLP - and there have definitely been some testimonies that haven't helped Hockey Canada's case. Teebz and Jason will talk about what was said, highlight some of the inconsistencies in testimonies, and look at the bigger picture of sex crimes in hockey and sports overall. Once more, this PG-rated show goes into some darker territory than normal, so listener discretion is advised if you're listening to The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via UMFM.com!

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online so you cnn call in for the contest as well. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, so if you want to stream the show I'd recommend Radio Garden to do that as it works nicely with Safari. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Jason go through the testimonies of people who should be taking better care of hockey, try and come up with solutions that don't involve million-dollar payouts, discuss how to clean up hockey and sports in general, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: July 28, 2022: Episode 514

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Back For Another Trophy?

With NHL free agency slowing down, NHL teams are now looking to fill out depth charts for minor-league affiliates in both the AHL and ECHL. There should be no surprise that this is where we are on the hockey calendar timeline, but it means that I now will keep a closer eye on who is signing where when it comes to former Canada West hockey stars. While former Golden Bears netminder Zach Sawchenko already found a home with the Carolina Hurricanes who will likely have him assigned to AHL Chicago when the season starts, there was another Golden Bear who signed with an ECHL team where he's already been crowned a champion!

The ECHL's Florida Everblades captured the Kelly Cup this past season, and they had a former Alberta Golden Bear on the team as we mentioned a couple of times on The Hockey Show. That player was the man pictured above in Levko Koper who re-signed for a fifth season with the Everblades on Tuesday as he looks for a second Kelly Cup to add to his growing collection of accolades!

Koper was a solid contributor for the Everblades this past season, amassing 12 goals and a career-high 29 assists in 57 games. He followed up that solid season with five goals and six assists in 20 Kelly Cup playoff games in helping the Everblades capture their second Kelly Cup in franchise history! The 31 year-old scored the game-winning goal in Game Five of the Kelly Cup Final against Toledo at 11:04 of the first period as Florida won the Kelly Cup in five games! In total, Kovar had three goals and three assists in the final as he saved his best hockey for the final series, it seems!

Koper joined the Everblades for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2016-17 where he scored ten points in nine games after putting up eight points in the final 13 regular season games. Koper played most of the '16-17 campaign with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers where he scored 18 points in 56 games before jumping over to Germany's Straubing Tigers for 45 games of DEL action in 2017-18 where recorded 12 points. Koper would continue his European tour in 2018-19 with Austria's Innsbruck HC where he scored eight points in 27 games before finishing the season in Slovakia with Banska Bystrica HC 05 where he scored eight points in 20 games.

Koper, a native of Edmonton, decided to return to North America for the 2019-20 season by signing with the ECHL's Everblades, a place he's called home ever since. Over the past three seasons, Koper has recorded 36 goals and 70 assists in 163 ECHL games, and Florida has been a fan of Koper's work as they continue to offer him contracts to return. As stated above, the relationship will continue as Koper will return to the Everblades again this season!

If you were wondering, Koper's time at the University of Alberta was also beneficial to his career. Koper spent five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs where he was selected 185th-overall in the seventh round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. While he opted not to turn pro, he finished his WHL career with 97 goals and 129 assist in 330 games. Looking to continue his career, he opted to use his WHL scholarship money as he enrolled with the University of Alberta where he joined the Golden Bears!

In five seasons of Canada West play, Koper showed a knack for the net in being a point-per-game player as he scored 51 goals and 88 assists in 140 games. That scoring helped the Golden Bears win two Canada West titles in 2012-13 and in 2014-15, and he was instrumental in powering the Golden Bears to back-to-back U SPORTS championships in 2014 and 2015. After graduating from the University of Alberta in 2016, he was off to Charlotte and Estero, Florida!

Congratulations go out to former Golden Bear Levko Koper as he seems to have found a home just south of Fort Myers, Florida. While terms were not disclosed on his new deal, the money and term may not even matter as much as just finding some permanency in his residence for the last few years. As we know, minor hockey players can often be nomads, so it's nice to see a former Canada West player find his "home" while being a solid contributor on the ice.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

There's Blood On Their Hands

Let me be very clear when I say that this Hockey Canada story should not go away until the entire organization has been razed, burned to the ground, its ashes buried, and the earth upon which it stood is scorched. Hockey Canada executives sat in front of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage again today to explain how incidents of sexual assault could happen and be covered up on their watch, and the answers the committee received were filled with anything but accountability and responsibility. If you wanted to see an organization so hellbent on keeping its own reputation intact, Hockey Canada was doing a magnificent job in letting everyone but themselves down again today.

Let me preface this rant by saying that I'm not a judge nor jury, so whether Hockey Canada survives this embarrassing and abhorrent era in their existence or does not is not going to legally be decided by me. I'll leave that up to people way smarter than I am, but I can weigh in from the court of public opinion because this seems like it's going to end badly and brutally for Hockey Canada. And, if I may say so, they absolutely deserve the backlash they're receiving and have yet to receive.

In front of the committee sat Danielle Robitaille of Toronto law firm Henein Hutchison LLP who was the law firm hired by Hockey Canada to lead an "independent investigation" of the 2018 incident in London, Ontario. With Hockey Canada hiring their own investigator, that already may raise some eyebrows about objectivity in the matter, but we'll let this one play out because we already know the ending. Hearing from Miss Robitaille might provide some clarity on what Hockey Canada did or didn't do in reaching their decision to pay the victim to keep quiet.

According to reports today, Robitaille told the committee that "only 10 members o[f] the 19 Canada's World Junior Championship roster present at the London gala event that preceded the alleged sexual assault were interviewed. Seven players would not participate until a police investigation was complete. Two refused participation completely at the time."

Ten members were interviewed? Let's go to the transcript of the June 20 committee meeting where both Tom Renney and Scott Smith were answering questions. On that day, Renney stated, "I can't tell you that we've confirmed a number of players who identified and communicated with the investigation. I don't know that number specifically. I'm going to give you an opportunity to hear a guess, which is that it might have been four to six, and I apologize for not being more succinct."

The honourable Peter Julian asked for clarification on Renney's response, stating, "Was that four to six who did not co-operate or four to six who did?" to which Renney answered, "That's four to six who were able to participate in a discussion."

Ok, so four to six is clearly less than ten, so how would Renney be that far off when it comes to an investigation his organization had requested? Further to this, incoming Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith added more confusion to the discussion when he contradicted Renney by answering a question from Mr. Julian, saying "I'd like to clarify, and I stand to be corrected on this, but I'm fairly confident that 12 to 13 of the 19 players who were at the gala participated in the investigation. The numbers that Mr. Renney referred to were not necessarily the numbers of those who did participate, but those who did not. I just wanted to clarify that."

Again, ten is a very specific number, and it's less than 12 or 13. For Smith to correct Renney's statement after Mr. Julian already had asked Renney for clarity is entirely baffling, but to have a different number than what the investigation found shows how completely inept this leadership group is. They can't even get simple numbers correct, let alone having their stories straight about what was happening behind the scenes.

Beyond the numbers that Hockey Canada can't see to agree upon, the lack of transparency in any and all matters surrounding the 2018 incident of sexual assault involving eight players from the CHL and/or Hockey Canada was fully on display as Miss Robitaille continually stonewalled the committee's questioning by invoking client/solicitor privilege as instructed by Hockey Canada.

While it's within Hockey Canada's right to do this, the very nature of the hearing is to dig deeper into this incident and its cover-up. Telling your lawyer to clam up when people are demanding answers only makes it look like Hockey Canada has something to hide. Again. So many times again.

We're far from getting clear and concise answers as to who was responsible, who was involved, and what the corrective measures will be to ensure this never happens again, but it seems very apparent that Hockey Canada is rotten to its core by the way its executives have bumbled through the first few days of this Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage hearing. There should be blood spilled when it comes to the executives at Hockey Canada losing their positions at the very least, but that's the price one pays for covering up despicable crimes under their watch.

The first people through the wall always get bloody, as shown in the Moneyball clip above, and we already have the names of the executives who should be first to go. If were doing this right, the bloodletting at Hockey Canada will continue until everyone who could have stopped these crimes from happening are gone. There's blood on everyone's hands at this point, and it seems only fair to spill some of their own after all they've done in eroding the implicit trust people had in Hockey Canada.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 25 July 2022

Imitation Is Flattery?

With all 32 teams in the NHL having a unique AHL affiliate, there are more and more teams that resemble their NHL squad in terms of team colours. Whether it be the Manitoba Moose, the Toronto Marlies, the Bakersfield Condors, or the Ontario Reign, I used to enjoy seeing the unique team identities of minor-league teams before the NHL started purchasing the controlling interests in AHL teams. It seems, though, that one NHL team may have taken things too far this off-season when it comes to having their AHL team look similar to it as the resemblance this season between the two will be uncanny.

You might be forgiven if the jersey on the right was mistaken for an Abbotsford Canucks alternate jersey due to its striking similarities to the green and white jerseys to the left of it, but what if I told you that the NHL Canucks will wear the jersey on the right this season? Because it's real, it's happening, and it's the new Vancouver Canucks reverse retro jersey!

If you recall, the Canucks decided to wade into their rich history of jerseys by bringing back the gradiant colour idea from the 1990s that no one liked on the first attempt at a reverse retro jersey. Personally, I don't think it was as bad as people made it out to be, but I'm also not a Canucks fans who had to live through the gradiant era. As someone jokingly pointed out to me, it's the Sprite can of hockey jerseys and how many people don't like Sprite? The Canucks could have signed a marketing deal with the Coca-Cola product and had some fun with "Sprite Nights", but none of that came to fruition. Call it a missed opportunity, I guess.

As the Canucks work to draft and develop a new set of players to help them rise through the Pacific Divsion standings, they may have taken the "reverse retro" concept a little far in putting all of their players into what appears to be an Abbotsford Canucks jersey. Be prepared for all the jokes about the Vancouver Canucks look like an AHL team thanks to this new design because the untrained hockey eye will certainly conflate the two logos.

What should be pointed out, though, is that this reverse retro design is a throwback to the 1962-63 Vancouver Canucks jersey worn by the former PCHL and WHL Canucks when they played in Vancouver. The logo, with the frayed pant legs and the less pronounced stick, is identical to what the '62-63 Canucks wore, and the stripe pattern appears to be similar to the '62-63 team. Here's that team.

The Canucks, for what it's worth, even added the "1962" to the collar of this year's Reverse Retro jersey, so the connection to the old WHL days in the city of Vancouver is very real. And to be clear, I have no problem with the NHL Canucks pay tribute to the very team they eliminated with their own expansion into the NHL in 1970. For 25 years, the PCHL and WHL Canucks called the west coast city home as they won two PCHL championships and four WHL championships including in both 1969 and 1970 before the NHL came to town. The 1962-63 Canucks finished first in the WHL's Northern Division and were third-overall in the eight-team WHL, but they fell in the WHL semifinal to the Seattle Totems 4-3 after earning a bye in the opening round of the playoffs. They looked good in those sweaters seen above, though.

Again, where I struggle with this new reverse retro jersey is the use of Johnny Canuck on a Vancouver Canucks jersey after they chose to make that the identity of the Abbotsford Canucks. The Canucks are free to choose whatever logo they like for their reverse retro jerseys, but the Johnny Canuck logo is the Abbotsford Canucks' logo after they wore it for a whole season in their return to British Columbia. Yes, the logo they chose has some minor differences, but the Johnny Canuck logo stands for minor-league hockey whether it be AHL, WHL, PCHL, or any other "HL" at this point. Why would you want you NHL club to look like it's a minor-league club?

Sometimes, NHL teams try way too hard to find something that people will like. For all their efforts in trying to make the old reverse retro jersey and this new reverse retro jersey seem cool, it just feels like the Canucks have no idea what actually is cool. Or what its fans want. Or what looks remotely good as a logo on the front of a jersey. Chalk this one up to "DUMB" in the "is it good or dumb" test because every single player on the NHL Canucks has worked his tail off to make sure he's not AHL-bound.

Welcome to the minor leagues of jersey design, Canucks.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 24 July 2022

It's Hard To Fail This Often

With news breaking yesterday about another potential black eye for Hockey Canada via a 2003 incident involving sexual assault in Halifax, it would appear that Hockey Canada has a couple of serious problems in both enabling players to do whatever they please without consequences and covering up the abhorrent acts the players under their watch commit. Here we are again, though, as the 2003 incident is now in the public's eye, and, combined with the 2018 incident and the repeated payoffs that Hockey Canada admittedly made, it should be very clear that Hockey Canada needs to be dismantled with extreme prejudice.

The new allegations from 2003 are about a group sexual assault involving the 2003 Canadian World Junior hockey team. If Hockey Canada's reports are to be believed, it has already contacted Halifax Regional Police about the allegations and is opening its own independent investigation into the incident. Beyond that, TSN's Rick Westhead reported today that he has independently verified reports of a video that captured the Halifax incident with three different sources.

In short, this happened and there are receipts.

According to a Toronto Star report filed by Omar Mosleh - at this point, I must warn readers that this report is graphic in nature - a player makes a lewd comment to the camera holder, and the video of the sexual assault is recorded. I won't post any further details than that out of the respect for the victim, but I will say that this report is sickening.

Let's remember that while Hockey Canada is the one out here taking lumps for their cover-ups over the behaviour of the young men under their watch, they're not the only organizations who are guilty of boys behaving poorly while representing those organizations. The fact that these men continually find their way into hockey is rather terrifying, and it seems that no one was willing to stop them until it was too late. Maybe people didn't know or weren't aware of what was happening, but the damage was being done nonetheless.

This is, and always will be, a culture problem when people are put on pedestals and treated like celebrities despite them having some decent athletic ability. The culture, shown below in many examples, needs to change in a big way considering the vast number of incidents I've recorded. How does it change? I'm not sure exactly as it seems that no matter where hockey is played, someone is morally corrupt in the game. What I do know is that this many incidents seen means that the game is broken in a way that's hard to wrap one's mind around when one looks at all the incidents.

Here is the list of all the incidents of a sexual nature that have made the press in the hockey world over the last 35 years that I could find. I strongly warn you that some of the information and linked stories are both unsettling and graphic in nature, but it's long overdue that we start bringing out the receipts so we understand just how flawed this game and its engrained culture have become. Everything from here is PG-rated, but it's hard to stomach the sheer quantity of incidents I've listed below.
  • The Kyle Beach incident with the Chicago Blackhawks is still fresh in the minds of a lot of people, and the cover-up of that sexual assault while enabling Brad Aldrich to continue to terrorize hockey players cost a number of people their jobs with the Chicago NHL team.
  • A 1988 incident in Regina saw a 17 year-old boy sexually assaulted by Regina Pats assistant coach Bernie Lynch. He reported the assault in 2021, and Lynch turned himself in after having the charges levied against him. His trial was set for June 2022.
  • A 1989 incident in Swift Current saw a 17-year-old girl assaulted by two members of the Memorial Cup champion Swift Current Broncos after an invitation to watch TV at her parents’ house became a non-consensual attack that left her bleeding profusely. In court, both players admitted that they had sex with the girl, but said the acts were consensual.
  • Four Washington Capitals were investigated for raping and sodomizing a 17 year-old girl in Georgetown in 1990. The players included Dino Ciccarelli, Geoff Courtnall, Neil Sheehy, and Scott Stevens. A DC Superior Court grand jury voted not to indict the four Capitals players.
  • A 1992 incident in Guelph saw three players charged with sexual assault after a 16-year-old girl told police she was forced to have sex with those players at the Guelph Storm's season-ending party. Shockingly, those charges were dropped on the eve of their trial.
  • 1993 saw Robert "Bob" Dawson, a minor hockey coach in Winnipeg, commit sexual assault with teens on the team he coached while making child pornography involving them between 1993 and 1995. The complainants stepped forward in 2021 to accuse Dawson, police charged the man in September, and he committed suicide in October 2021.
  • A 1995 incident in Saskatoon saw five members of the Saskatoon Blades investigated for sexual assault after a 16-year-old Indigenous girl said those players had sex with her while she was unconscious at a house party. When asked about it, CHL and WHL President Ed Chynoweth victim-blamed the girl, the incident was dismissed, and no charges were laid.
  • A 1995 incident in Windsor saw three members of the Spitfires - including both Ed Jovanovski and Bill Bowler - face multiple sexual assault charges after a 24-year-old woman said she was sexually assaulted in her apartment and forced to have anal intercourse by the players. Charges were dismissed.
  • 1996 saw NHLers Todd Harvey and Grant Marshall of the Dallas Stars among four men arrested and charged with allegedly sexually assaulting a 20-year-old at a Winnipeg house party. Despite searching, no criminal proceedings seem to have taken place.
  • 1996 saw player agent David Frost charged with four counts of touching for a sexual purpose after three young women came forward with details of his assaults. Frost was acquitted on all four counts.
  • 1996 saw Graham James finally arrested for multiple charges of sexual assault. James pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault involving more than 350 encounters with two underage players over a span of 10 years, and was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. He has since had more charges assigned to him, and his prison sentences have been extended.
  • A 2000 incident in Barrie saw three members of the Colts - Nick Robinson, Aaron Power and Mike D'Allessandro - charged with the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl. Those charges are later withdrawn.
  • Former Vernon hockey coach Keith Gordon Grant Chase sexually assaulted a 16 year-old girl in 2000 or 2001, and was found guilty of sexual assault on March 11, 2022. Sentencing will happen at a future date.
  • Former NHLer Dan Carcillo alleges that "he was subject to, 'almost constant and repetitive abuse,' while playing for the Sting during the 2002-03 season", including sexual abuse. Carcillo and former WHLer Garrett Taylor launched a class-action lawsuit against the CHL, WHL, QMJHL, and OHL in 2020.
  • A 2003 incident in Michigan saw minor hockey coach Charlie Jones charged with and convicted of felony attempted criminal sexual conduct after "he confessed to picking up two 15-year-old girls, supplying them with alcohol and raping one of them while she was unconscious. After pleading to a lesser “attempted” charge in a plea deal that spared the victim from testifying, Jones was sentenced to probation and ordered to register in Michigan as a sex offender for 25 years."
  • There's now an investigation into a 2003 incident in Halifax with the Canadian World Junior team. Details are above, but no charges have been laid at this time.
  • 2005 saw three NHL players - Kristian Huselius of the Florida Panthers, Andreas Lilja of the Nashville Predators, and Henrik Tallinder of the Buffalo Sabres - accused of gang sexual assault of a 22-year-old in a hotel room in Sweden. Prosecutors found "there was no evidence they forced the woman to have sex".
  • A 2005 incident in Duluth, Minnesota saw UMD Bulldogs Blair Noel LeFebvre charged with sexual assault after assaulting a female UMD student in her home. LeFebvre opted for a plea deal in which he pled guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, reducing his sentence to two years' probation, a psychological-sexual social evaluation, and registering as a sex offender.
  • A 2006 incident in Victoria saw members from the ECHL's Salmon Kings charged with sexual assault after assaulting a University of Victoria student. The changes were dropped by prosecutors as "witnesses are all members of the hockey team and created an obstacle to accurately and fully investigating the case."
  • A 2006 incident in Newport Beach saw Anaheim goaltending prospect David McKee charged with rape of an unconscious person and one felony count of rape by intoxication after McKee and a 25 year-old woman went back to her apartment after a night of drinking. McKee allegedly entered the woman's bedroom around 4:15am and raped her while she was unconscious. Charges were dismissed after jurors were deadlocked at 11-1.
  • A 2006 incident in Port Alberni, BC saw Harrison Zolnierczyk and Bradley Harding of the BCHL's Bulldogs plead guilty after secretly filming Harding's 17 year-old girlfriend performing oral sex and posting the video online. Zolnierczyk received a three-year conditional discharge.
  • A 2008 incident in Albany saw Robert "Bobby" Hughes of the AHL's River Rats charged with committing a first-degree sexual assault. He first denied the incident happened until DNA evidence was produced, and then told his ex-roommate that "it would be 'better off' if he did not testify at Hughes' sodomy trial". Hughes was eventually acquitted.
  • A 2009 incident at Brock University saw goaltender Mark Yetman charged with two counts each of choking, threatening, and sexual assault. The particularly violent assault netted him two years less a day for the two counts of sexual assault, but he was found not guilty for choking and threatening. He added a third sexual assault charge in 2010 to his rap sheet that netted him three years in jail after sexual assaulting a 19-year-old student while she slept.
  • An incident in Taylor, Michigan saw Grosse Pointe South High School hockey coach Robert Bopp charged with three counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and child sexually abusive activity after being charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Bopp was found guilty of the sexual assault on the teenage boy and sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. He also was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the child pornography charges.
  • A 2009 incident in Toronto saw hockey coach Lorne Rappaport charged with two counts of sexual assault, sexual interference with a person under 16, sexual exploitation, and invitation to sexual touching after Rappaport allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old female victim he was coaching. Because the charges were levied against him in 2021, he awaits a trial.
  • A 2010 incident at Mercyhurst College saw forward Kyle Just and goaltender Jordan Tibbett charged charged with sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, and indecent assault after sexually assaulting a woman and forcing her to perform a sex act. Both were found not guilty and immediately reinstated to the hockey team after being suspended for nearly one year.
  • A 2010 incident in Washington, DC saw former NHL player-turned-coach Mark Hardy charged with felony fourth-degree sexual abuse after putting his hand down his 21 year-old daughter's shorts and touching her genital area after a night of drinking. The charges were dismissed.
  • A 2011 incident at Boston University saw top scorer Corey Trevino plead guilty to assault and battery charges and sentenced to to two years of probation after forcing himself on a woman. Trevino was removed from the Terriers hockey team after his arrest.
  • A 2011 incident in Ann Arbor saw former NHLer Reid Boucher charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct after he, as a 17 year-old, assaulted a 12-year-old girl whose family hosted him as a billet family. Boucher took a plea deal and pled guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct against a minor, meaning he may not face jail time or have the charge appear on his record based on the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA).
  • A 2012 incident in Sault Ste. Marie saw three members of the Greyhounds - Nick Cousins, Andrew Fritsch, and Mark Pettachio - charged with sexual assault. Charges were withdrawn on the condition that a peace bond be upheld between the three players and the complainant, and the three players "do not communicate directly or indirectly with the complainant, and are not to be within 500 metres of the complainant's residence."
  • A 2012 incident at Boston University saw defenceman Max Nicastro charged with sexual assault. Prosecutors dropped the case due to insufficient evidence. NiCastro had withdrawn as a student at Boston University following his arrest.
  • A 2012 incident in Los Angeles saw Kings defender Drew Doughty charged with sexual assault after a woman he knew claimed he raped her in a cab. The charges were dropped after prosecutors cited insufficient evidence.
  • A 2012 incident in Texas saw former Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro charged with sexual assault by the nanny of his children. They reached an agreement on a settlement in the case.
  • A 2013 incident in Huntsville saw University of Alabama-Huntsville defenceman Lasse Uusivirta charged with sexual assault after raping an 18-year-old female student in his dorm. After admitting to the crime, Uusivirta fled the US, returning back to Finland, and the charges remain in effect if he returns to the US.
  • A 2013 incident in Duluth, Georgia saw Orlando Solar Bears netminder Zoltan Hetenyi arrested on three counts of sexual battery after twice grabbing a waitress's buttocks with two hands and then grabbed her breasts while reportedly showing off his glove and blocker hands. The Solar Bears dropped him from their roster, and it appears that he returned to Europe where he signed with Liiga's Taapara the following season. It appears he didn't make his court appearance.
  • A 2013 incident in Windsor saw Spitfires forward Ben Johnson charged with sexual assault for raping a 16-year-old girl in the women's washroom of the now-defunct downtown nightclub Mynt. Johnson was sentenced to three years in prison. Johnson, it should be noted, was found not guilty on a second charge of sexual assault at a different nightclub in the same year.
  • A 2013 incident saw Portland Pirates assistant coach Michael Minard plead no contest to sexual misconduct after sending a 13 year-old girl a an image of his genitals. He was jailed for 60 days, fired from his position, and placed on Maine's Sex Offenders Registry for ten years.
  • An incident in Straford saw GOJHL Cullitons forward Mitchell Vandergunst charged with two counts of sexually assaulting a woman. Vandergunst was found guilty and sentenced to a one-year jail sentence plus two years of probation, but the Ontario Superior Court overturned the conviction as the judge ruled "there were inconsistencies with the woman's testimony on the witness stand". It appears Vandergunst never had a second trial as his hockey career remained intact for the next few seasons.
  • A 2014 incident in Quebec City saw four members of the Gatineau Olympiques charged with sexual assault after a complainant came forward. The case is eventually dropped.
  • A 2014 incident in Thunder Bay saw several members of the University of Ottawa men's hockey team sexually assault a woman. Guillaume Donovan and David Foucher were formally charged with sexual assault, but were acquitted. The GeeGees men's hockey team were suspended for the year, but do not participate in OUA hockey for two years while the university re-organized the team after the incident.
  • A 2014 incident in Lincoln saw Thomas Carey and Brandon Smith of the USHL's Stars were charged with using a minor in a sexual performance and possessing and distributing child pornography after they recorded themselves having sex with a 15 year-old girl, and then distributed the video and pictures to friends on the team and in other states. Both players were suspended from the team, and they opted to take a plea deal as they pled guilty to the child pornography charges. Both men spent 45 days in jail, received 10 years of supervised probation, and Carey was required to take sex offender counseling. Part of the plea deal also sees that the two players are not allowed to blame the victim for the outcome.
  • A 2014 incident in Fitchburg, Massachusetts saw three members of the Fitchburg State University men's hockey team charged with sexual assault after an alleged off-campus sexual assault. All three men were "barred from attending classes and participating in athletics pending the police investigation". No other details about the case could be found.
  • A 2014 incident in Gatineau saw several players of the Olympiques inside a Boston Pizza bathroom with an intoxicated woman. While no crimes were formally alleged, Gatineau police ultimately did not lay charges after reports of the sexual misconduct.
  • A 2014 incident in Nipawin saw SJHL Hawks forward Garrett Dunlop charged with charged with sexual assault and sexual interference after two alleged sexual encounters with a girl under the age of 16 after kissing a 16 year-old girl in his vehicle. Dunlop was acquitted.
  • A 2014 incident in St. Louis saw Ian Mackie, a St. Louis County minor hockey coach, was charged with performing sex acts with one minor and attempting to persuade another to send him nude pictures - both being child pornography charges. Mackie pled guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
  • An incident in Kingston saw long-time OHL billet Neil Joynt on charges of indecent assault and sexual assault against three boys in the 1980s. Joynt was found not guilty on four charges he faced.
  • A 2015 incident in Cobourg, Ontario saw team members of the Cougars Junior A team charged with sexual assault during a house party. No charges were laid after an investigation.
  • A 2015 incident in Fairbanks saw University of Alaska-Fairbanks forward Nolan Youngmun charged with first and second degree sexual assault after he raped a woman in her apartment. He was eventually found not guilty, but there is a new sexual assault allegation from 2013 whose resolution could not be found.
  • Boston College hockey player Tori Sullivan is sexually assaulted by a Boston College football player in 2015. A lack of support from and victim-blaming from her team and university caused Sullivan to transfer out of Boston College in 2017 before she ultimately reported the assault in 2022. She requested that Boston College investigate the incident, but the university denied that request, stating "they cannot compel the alleged perpetrator to testify since he is no longer a student."
  • A 2015 incident in Peterborough saw former Peterborough minor hockey coach Michael McCormick charged with sexual exploitation, sexual assault, making sexually explicit material available to a child, communicating with a person under the age of 18 for sexual purposes, and possession of child pornography after he was allegedly involved in an inappropriate relationship with a 16 or 17 year-old female victim. McCormick was found not guilty on all charges.
  • A 2015 incident in Kingston saw Gananoque Islanders defenceman Chance Macdonald charged with common assault after sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a party. Macdonald pled guilty to the single common assault charge and served 88 days in jail on weekends.
  • A 2015 incident in Buffalo saw Patrick Kane accused of raping a woman he met at a Buffalo bar. The charges were dropped after prosecutors found that the evidence did "not sufficiently substantiate the complainant's allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane".
  • A 2016 incident in Oakville, Ontario saw minor hockey coach Jared Gould charged with two counts of invitation to sexual touching, two counts of indecent act, two counts of making sexually explicit material available to persons under 16 years, and one count of uttering threats. Police allege the victims are males under the age of 16 with one victim being part of the hockey association. He pleaded guilty through a plea bargain to one count of indecent act while the other charges were withdrawn. This won't be the last time Gould is on this list.
  • A 2016 incident in Sudbury saw Laurentian University forward Blake Luscombe was charged with sexual assault in an off-campus incident. Charges were withdrawn in the case.
  • In 2016, complainants reported that Walter Ferinden, a former minor hockey coach in Delaware, had sexually abused them in the late 1980s and early 1990s which coaching. Ferinden, facing more than a dozen charges of second-degree unlawful sexual contact, pled guilty to two counts of the charges, and was sentenced to three years in prison.
  • A 2016 incident in Buffalo saw Evander Kane accused of sexual assault against a woman he had met. No charges were brought by Buffalo police following their investigation of the incident.
  • A 2017 incident in Vancouver saw Canucks forward Jake Virtanen charged with sexual assault after pinning her down in the hotel room and assaulting her. The case is currently before the courts.
  • A 2017 incident in Canton, Michigan saw Canton High School assistant boys varsity hockey coach Eric Locke charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after having an an ongoing relationship with a girl that started when the girl was 15. He pled guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and was sentenced to two years probation under HYTA and does not have to register as a sex offender.
  • Incidents between 2017 and 2018 saw Christopher Prew charged with one count of aggravated rape of a child with an age difference greater than 10 years, 14 counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, and one count of attempted indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 which coaching youth hockey in Massachusetts. He pled guilty to 16 charges of child sexual assault, was sentenced to 13 to 15 years in state prison followed by ten years of probation that includes a long list of conditions.
  • The 2018 incident in London, Ontario involving eight players from the CHL and the Canadian World Junior team has been re-opened for a new investigation.
  • A 2018 incident in Providence saw then-AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John "Clark" Donatelli charged with sexual assault after allegedly groping the victim and sticking his hands down her pants while they were attempting to get a ride back to their hotel. The victim, Erin Skalde, is the wife of former player Jarrod Skalde, and they reached a settlement with the Penguins.
  • A 2018 investigation saw USA Hockey, the American College Hockey Association, and the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) come under fire after Tom "Chico" Adrahtas, a Chicago-area coach, allegedly sexually abused several junior players and college players in the 1980s. The claims against Adrahtas were dismissed by a federal judge, but he did recommend that state courts hear the matter. No resolution has been found yet.
  • A 2018 incident in Big Rapids, Michigan saw Ferris State hockey player Darren Smith charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct including first-degree with injury to an incapacitated person after he assaulted a woman at an off-campus location. In a rather open article about Riley Blair, Smith's victim,Smith reportedly took a plea deal that included Michigan Holmes Youth Trainee Act protections, making all of the court records from the case and his sentencing sealed, that saw him serve just eight months in prison for his crimes.
  • A 2018 incident in Kamloops saw goaltender Connor Neurauter charged with sexual interference and possession of child pornography after he allegedly had inappropriate contact with a 13 year-old girl. He took a plea deal and pled guilty to one count of sexual interference with a person under 16. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years on probation. He is prohibited from contacting his victims or being in the presence of anyone under 16 without supervision, and was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
  • Jared Gould returns to the list in 2019 after being charged with three counts of luring a child, three counts of making sexually explicit material available to a child, two counts of possession of child pornography, invitation to sexual touching, making child pornography and three counts of failure to comply with a probation order that stemmed from "multiple complaints, from multiple parents, from multiple jurisdictions regarding their children communicating with a male that they'd met on various online chat platforms, specifically those geared towards hockey". It would appear his new charges are still awaiting a trial.
  • A 2019 incident in Rosthern, Saskatchewan saw Andrew Gordon Stevenson charged with sexual assault and sexual interference against a child under 16 while working with the Rosthern Minor Hockey Association. A second set of charges was brought about due to second incident in 2021. His case goes before the courts in September 2022.
  • 2019 saw former Montreal minor hockey coach Francois "Frank" Lamarre charged with gross indecency, indecent exposure, sexual assault, sexual touching and invitation to sexual touching involving four alleged victims that occurred between 1972 and 1997. He pled not guilty to the charges, but died in 2020 before his trial could be completed. A judge awarded $11 million to his victims from his estate.
  • Former QMJHL Sherbrooke Phoenix forward Yaroslav Alexeyev told Russian news site Sport Express of hazing, abuse, and sexual assualts that he suffered at the hands of teammates and billets including veteran players sodomizing rookies with a broomstick. As far as the reporting went, nothing happened to anyone from the Phoenix nor was an investigation into the allegations done.
  • A 2020 incident in Sweden saw Logan Mailloux charged with defamation and offensive photography as he secretly recorded the victim without her consent or knowledge while engaging in oral sex. He was required to pay a fine in Sweden for these charges.
  • A 2020 incident in Littleton saw Colorado Select Girls Hockey Association director of hockey operations and player development Jesse Davis charged with sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after assaulting "a juvenile who had been staying on his property". The charges are pending in his case.
  • A 2021 incident in San Jose saw Evander Kane who had allegedly sexually assaulted and committed domestic violence towards his estranged wife. The allegations are making their way through the legal system as part of the Kanes' divorce proceedings.
  • A 2021 incident in Kalamazoo saw Western Michigan University captain Paul Washe charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a fellow WMU student claimed he assaulted her. He has been suspended from the team while the investigation continues.
  • A 2021 incident in Lac-Beauport, Quebec saw two members of the QMJHL Victoriaville Tigres - Nicolas Daigle and Massimo Siciliano - charged with sexual assault and filming the alleged attack a teenage girl in Lac-Beauport in June. Daigle was charged for sharing images of the alleged victim. Both have been suspended indefinitely by the QMJHL.
  • A 2021 incident in Wapole, Massachusetts saw Rodman Arena owner Robert Barletta charged with sexual assault with intent to rape a female coach at a hockey camp held at his arena. Charges are pending against Barletta as he awaits a trial after pleading not guilty.
  • A 2021 incident in West Chester, Pennsylvania saw West Chester University hockey player Richard Oastler Mullineaux V charged with rape by forcible compulsion, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, and false imprisonment after raping a woman at a Halloween party. He awaits trial.
  • 2022 saw York region police charge Whitchurch-Stouffville hockey coach Kelvin Cheuk-Ho Lee with multiple charges in connection with sexual offences committed against children between 2016 and 2022. His charges are still pending as he awaits a trial.
  • A 2022 incident in Reno saw three memebers of the Senior A club Santa Rosa Growlers - Josiah Nikkel, Dominic Jones and Moses Matthews - arrested for and charged with sexual assault. Matthews also faces charges for capturing an image of someone's private area and unlawful dissemination of intimate images. The victim alleges that "they held her down while one recorded the orchestrated assault". The three men reportedly had a jury trial set for June 27.
  • A 2022 civil suit in Nevada saw Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz named as one of the men who may have paid an underage ballerina $75,000 for "sexual favours" eight years ago. Charges were withdrawn after it was proven the ballerina was 18, not 17 as alleged.
If you made it this far, you probably need a stiff drink after reading about all the incidents occurring at all the different levels of hockey. It doesn't matter if it's minor hockey, the NHL, or stops in between, the system is broken in such a malignant way that these are only the stories being reported. Like an iceberg, these are the ten percent seen above the surface of the water that made it to a reporter, and I highly suspect the ninety percent hiding below the surface should not only be heard, but encouraged to step forward to tell their stories.

This is not ok in any way, shape, or form. This is as far from ok as one can possibly get when totalling up the damage done in the incidents listed above, and there are still unknown horrors within the game that I didn't list - domestic abuse, harrassment of all sorts, racism, hazing, and other morally-corrupt actions.

There's no other way to say this, but Hockey Canada's latest problems are just a bigger target to hit for people who want to throw moral judgment at them. As I've shown, these sexual assaults and abuses happen in one's own backyard, so it might be wise to stop pointing fingers and, instead, start cleaning up the game.

Hockey is broken. The evidence is everywhere.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!