Jason Kay is the Editor in Chief of The Hockey News and has been with the brand since 1989. No, that's not a typo. Born in England, raised in Toronto, he arrived in his home and adopted land as a baby in 1967, just in time to see the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup. A stay-at-home defenseman once upon a time, Kay knows his NHL dreams are long dead, but he hasn't given up hope of winning the Brier.
Wednesday signaled the beginning of a “new era” in hockey. Perhaps you’d heard?
If you’re a puck fan in Canada, it was tough not to be aware of Sportsnet’s plans to turn every day into Hockey Day. And who can blame them? After committing $5.2 billion over 12 years to the NHL, they’re all in.
The first manifestation of their game night production was, overall, solid. We could quibble and nitpick, but we won’t. We enjoyed the experience. If nothing else, they deserve praise for effort, for being willing to experiment and take risks.
We’ll let some marketing genius or anthropological intellectual explain to us the phenomenon that is the Toronto Maple Leafs. But somehow, a business that has consistently produced an inferior product for the better part of four decades, continues to succeed wildly at the cash register and in popularity polls.
The Leafs are the No. 1 NHL outfit in terms of franchise value as calculated by Forbes, they have the NHL’s highest ticket prices (average of $373 at resale), and it was announced by Twitter on the opening day of the 2014-15 season they rank first in number of followers on the social media platform.
Jere Lehtinen had his No. 10 raised to the rafters by Espoo in Finland on Tuesday. It was a tasteful tribute that included video testimonials from former Dallas teammates Mike Modano and Craig Ludwig.
The question is, should the Stars follow suit and immortalize the No. 26 that he wore in Texas?
For a team with a quirky history, why not a quirky scoreboard?
When the New York Islanders move into their new digs in Brooklyn to start 2015-16, their Jumbotron will be off-center, closer to one blueline in Barclays Center than the other.
Spectators got a glimpse of this on Friday when the club played host to the New Jersey Devils. While it’s hardly earth-shattering, it does create an unusual visual, particularly from the side stands.
Wayne Simmonds stoked the fire that burns between his Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers when he was quoted, on Twitter, wearing his heart on his sleeve:
We hockey fans are a bloodthirsty lot. Yes, even the pacifists, and don’t let them tell you any differently.
I knew Keanu Reeves before he was famous. Aren’t I special?
Self-mockery aside, I was indeed fortunate to have grown up in a hip part of downtown Toronto and been immersed in a neighborhood that encouraged art and attracted creativity.
That’s how I became connected with Keanu and, ultimately, how he came to help coach my bantam house league hockey team.
Today’s trends, tomorrow’s humor.
We’re pretty proud of our history at The Hockey News, with our rich and unique library dating back to 1947. But some of the content in our rearview mirror is curious, and some is downright hilarious.
Take the advertising. For the first few decades of our existence, the primary purchasers of space were alcohol and tobacco companies, targeting predominately a male audience. There were smaller, quaint ads, selling everything from local restaurants to skate sharpening to ice paint, but the vices drove the revenue machine.
In the post-screening interview he conducted with the audience at the Toronto International Film Festival, Red Army director Gabe Polsky said he reviewed about 10 percent of the archival hockey footage made available to him. The vault, it turns out, is massive.
We can only imagine the gems still to be unearthed in the remaining 90 percent, because what viewers are treated to in the 76-minute chronicle is a series of fascinating visual revelations.
We’re exposed to the “other side”; the formative years of the program through Anatoli Tarasov, the unique training methods, clips from Soviet TV, Slava Fetisov on home video.