Junior player assessed match penalty for incident with official, suspended for 365 days

Jared Clinton
Danton Ayotte (via Facebook)

Danton Ayotte, who plays for the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Murray Oil Barons, is going to be watching from the sidelines for quite some time after Hockey Alberta suspended the winger for 365 days.

The suspension comes in the wake of an incident involving a referee during the Oil Barons Dec. 6 game against the Brooks Bandits. The 19-year-old Ayotte was ejected in the first period, assessed a match penalty, and the ruling from Hockey Alberta came down yesterday. Read more

Small Ontario town rallies around star Jr. A player badly injured representing Canada

Adam Proteau
Neil Doef (via smithfallsbears.pointstreaksites.com)

Seventeen-year-old Neil Doef is a small-town Canadian kid like so many other small-town kids across this country: chasing the hockey dream, day and night, evenings, weekends, and probably in his dreams as well. But like very few kids, he had talent to go along with that love of the game: he was the leading scorer on the Jr. A Smiths Falls Bears of the Central Canada Hockey League, and the rookie of the year in that league last season at age 16; he’d just agreed to a full hockey scholarship at Princeton University; and he was named to Team Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, Sask.

Sadly, that’s where Doef’s life took a tragic turn on Sunday. Playing against the Swiss team, the left winger fell into the boards after colliding with a defenseman and suffered a terrible injury that not only threatens his hockey future, but his ability to live as he did before the game was played.

(At the request of Doef’s family, Hockey Canada president Tom Renney wouldn’t confirm Doef is dealing with major spinal trauma, but that was the suspicion. “(We) are not able to provide any further details and will when it is deemed most appropriate,” Renney said in a statement.)

Doef’s home of Smiths Falls (population 8,777) is admirably rallying around the injured youngster. An online fundraising campaign had raised more than $5,500 in two days, and the local Shopper’s Drug Mart has pledged $5,000 and will collect donations at its location. People interested in helping Doef can donate money at any Scotiabank branch under the account name “Doefstrong in trust”, or send an online money transfer to the address doefstrong@gmail.com.

The hockey world needs no more examples of how inherently dangerous the game can be. All we can do is do our best to help people who’ve been hurt. And although Doef faces a long and tough road, it’s heartening to see how quickly hockey’s family has stepped up to support him at such an awful time.

81 hospitalized after carbon monoxide leak at junior hockey game

Jared Clinton
Poppy Waterman Ice Arena (via LakeDelton.org)

A carbon monoxide leak sent 81 people who attended a hockey game at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena in Lake Delton, Wisc. to hospital, including nearly an entire Minnesota Junior Hockey League team.

Each member of the Rochester Ice Hawks that skated in Saturday’s contest was sent to hospital Saturday evening, including the coaching staff. The source of the carbon monoxide is said to be one of the rink’s two ice resurfacers, according to Minnesota’s Star Tribune. Read more

Brace yourself for arguably the most bizarre hockey jumbotron video you’ll ever see

Adam Proteau
Alaska Nanooks' polar bear (Image via Nanooks' promotional video from 2009-10)

If you’re looking for a Jumbotron hockey video that includes a soundtrack featuring Kenny Loggins, Laura Branigan and a plotline starring a polar bear capable of flying a fighter jet, have we got a link for you.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks commissioned this video for the Alaska Nanooks‘ 2009-10 team, and calling it off the wall is an understatement. It begins, appropriately enough, in the Arctic Circle – but that’s where things start to get weird: an icebreaker makes its way through the frozen waters, apparently electrifying a polar bear that somehow had been frozen beneath the surface and enlarging it to Godzilla size (that point is also the point at which someone thought Branigan’s “Self Control” was a smart musical choice); Bearzilla proceeds to fashion a Fox-on-NHL-style glowing stick out of thin air, uses it to destroy the boat and everyone on board in a fairly serious overreaction, then makes his way onto the aforementioned jet to go full Maverick-from-Top-Gun.

From there, Bearzilla and a group of bear-pilots proceed to attack multiple places of higher learning before dropping a bomb into a volcano (something vaguely Scientology-ish there) and blowing the entire earth to smithereens. You’d think the bear wouldn’t have much to do after having destroyed the planet and all the innocent life forms that once lived upon it, but you’d be wrong – he still has enough juice in the plane to fly it, Interstellar-style, through a wormhole and intro an alternate universe where hockey is played on a giant brownie.

What, you think I made these past two paragraphs up? Go ahead, see for yourself: Read more

Inspirational Mike Nichols still working towards getting back on the ice

The Hockey News
Nichols_644x428

By Chris Kazarian

At the end of June, 17-year-old Mike Nichols was drafted by the FHL’s Danbury Whalers. He regularly texts Maple Leafs left winger James van Riemsdyk and talks often with former New York Rangers star Adam Graves. And he was a featured guest on WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Show in November before heading to Madison Square Garden later that evening, celebrating his favorite team’s 5-0 blanking of the Pittsburgh Penguins inside the Rangers’ dressing room.

These days Nichols is living every teenager’s dream. Only it took a nightmare for him to get there. Read more