Toronto’s rooftop rink is sticking around a little longer, being opened to the public — for a fee

Ian Denomme
(Ian Denomme/The Hockey News)

TORONTO – When Molson Canadian built a hockey rink atop a skyscraper in downtown Toronto, it created the considerable buzz they were going for. So much buzz, in fact, that the rink is remaining open for an extra month and being opened to the public.

Initially part of Molson’s #AnythingForHockey campaign, that contest closed on Dec. 10. But after photos of the rink circulated and the public became interested, they decided to keep it open to let more people experience the rink with sprawling views of Toronto and the CN Tower.

At rooftoprink.ca there is another ongoing contest to let more fans on the rink. There’s also the option of simply buying ice time on the rink. But to do so, you better indeed be willing to do ‘anything for hockey’ – an hour of ice time for 20 people costs $2,000.

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Russian brawl goes from mild to wild with violent stick swinging, 790 combined penalty minutes

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube)

The post-game scrum between the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks this past Monday was a rarity in today’s NHL. And while fans may have eaten it up, there were almost certainly a few at the league office who were none too pleased with the dustup. If the league was upset at all, though, maybe they can take solace in the fact the brawl didn’t get as out of hand as one between two Russian amateur league clubs.

This insane battle between two teams — a rough translation has the team in black called Hammer and team in white called Yugan — comes from Moscow’s Night Hockey League this past Friday. It all started thanks to a hit by Hammer’s Andrew Revkov on Yugan’s Vladimir Chernyshev that caused a line “brawl” consisting of gloved punches. Standard stuff, really, and nothing out of the ordinary. We see scrums like this at least once a week.

The two teams eventually relent and head to their benches. Brawl over, right? Not even close. Watch and wait for things to get out of control in a hurry around the 1:45 mark: Read more

Canada has lost its perspective when it comes to World Juniors

Team Canada after its 6-5 quarterfinal loss to Finland MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

When Hockey Canada president Tom Renney emerged to speak with reporters the day after Canada’s dismissal from the World Junior Championship, it seemed about the only thing missing in the backdrop was a constant loop of The Funeral March by Chopin.

(Full disclosure: I’m not actually at the WJC this year. Our junior hockey ace, Ryan Kennedy, is proudly carrying the THN banner at the tournament in Helsinki.)

Renney looked grim and answered his first question by saying, “We’re dealing with it OK,” as though he were talking about a death in the family. He went on to talk about how Hockey Canada, “has to own this,” and “take a real good, hard look at this.”

It’s of almost no consolation to the young men who tried their best for their country and were sent home early, but this is not the end of the world for them or for Hockey Canada. As far as their own careers, this is not a bell weather of how they’re going to fare as NHL players, if indeed they make it to that level at all. Roberto Luongo, Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay were all part of the 1998 Canadian team that finished eighth and lost to Kazakhstan, while Scott Niedermayer, Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya all played for the 1992 team that finished sixth.

By contrast, the two most dominant teams Canada has ever produced were in 2005 and ’06 and Cam Barker was on both of those teams. Ever wonder what happened to Dan Bertram, Sasha Pokulok and Ryan O’Marra? So do a lot of other people, but they were on the team that won in 2006 in Vancouver and might have been the most dominant defensive team Canada has ever produced. For all the greatness on the 2005 team that included Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Shea Weber, you might recall the goaltending tandem was Jeff Glass and Rejean Beauchemin and included the likes of Shawn Belle, Danny Syvret, Jeremy Colliton and Stephen Dixon. Martin Brodeur was cut from the 1992 team and in 2004, Cam Ward was lit up like a Christmas tree in the selection camp and was released, two years before winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy.

Which is to say that the WJC is a snapshot and in the 2016 snapshot, the photographer got Hockey Canada’s bad side. It was not a particularly bountiful year for 1996-born players, the goaltending was shaky to be sure and the team was a little too small and not quite skilled enough. But this does not have to provide a referendum on the state of hockey in Canada. Pretty tough to look at the likes of Connor McDavid, Mitch Marner, Brayden Point and 2017 potential first overall pick Nolan Patrick and argue Canada is not producing enough skill players. In fact, go to a minor hockey arena near you and you’ll see kids doing some wonderful things on the ice. The fact is players have never been more skilled or better coached than they are in Canada now. (If you want to address something, you might want to start with goaltending. Just saying.)

The fact is that sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t. Renney talked about Canada always wanting to be in the hunt for medals and it always is. It was in this tournament, but came out on the wrong side of a one-game elimination because of a variety of factors. It happens. Canada will be back in the hunt next year on home ice. In fact, it will be right there the next three years when it will scarcely have to leave its own backyard.

For all the arrogance Ron Wilson has displayed at this tournament, there is no doubt he was onto something when he talked about the “unconscionable pressure” placed on the Canadian players. Wilson blamed TSN, but he missed the mark by a little. TSN is only trying to make a buck in a tough, competitive industry. The real culprit here, in your correspondent’s humble opinion, is Hockey Canada. It is the governing body of hockey in Canada that is at the controls here and it is the one that has allowed the hype for this tournament to run amok. You want unconscionable? A major hockey Canada sponsor telling 11- and 12-year-old kids that preparations for the 2023 WJC begin now. “If you do all that,” it counsels kids, “you’ll get noticed.” That’s unconscionable.

And has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, it’s this approach to the tournament that is behind Canada’s lack of success. Now I get wanting to win every year and doing everything in your power to make that happen. Of course you’re going to do those things. and you never, ever want to get complacent about your place in the hockey universe. But just because it doesn’t go well doesn’t necessarily mean you have to “own it” and go through every flaw with a fine-tooth comb. How are those kids going to feel next year if they can’t win it at home after Hockey Canada has vowed to make things right?

It’s all about perspective. And when it comes to perspective, Canada has lost it when it comes to the World Junior Championship. And that loss of perspective starts right at the top of the food chain.

Ex-junior players’ guilty plea in child porn case a wake-up call for entire hockey community

Ryan Kennedy
Thomas Carey and Brandon Smith. (Photo via Daily News)

Two former members of the USHL’s Lincoln Stars have pleaded guilty to child pornography charges stemming from an encounter with a female fan in 2014. Thomas Carey and Brandon Smith are already in jail after submitting their pleas last week in Clay County, Minn., but neither will have to register as a sex offender.

Not only is this story disturbing, but it should serve as a lesson to the hockey world as a whole and in particular to junior-aged players.

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46 ways to make hockey way, way better. Maybe

If the NHL doesn't want to send its players to the Olympics, how about holding the World Junior Championship there? (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In 13 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Hockey News, I’ve made a ton of suggestions on how to improve the game. You’d almost think I didn’t like it.

The truth is, I feel it’s part of my job to help stimulate conversation and debate. While hockey is still pretty darned fantastic, nothing is perfect.

What follows is a list of various things I’ve suggested, conceived, advocated or supported during my baker’s dozen years in my ivory tower.
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Skating on thin ice: How climate change could hurt hockey’s future

Outdoor

Hockey is entering a new ice age, and how the community deals with it could have a significant bearing on the evolution of the game. Climate change may not affect where we can put an indoor rink, even in the warmest climes, but it’s having a profound impact outdoors, where the game was born and its mystique still lies.

“PlayoffPreview”

Today, Torontonians get about 60 days of outdoor skating a year. So do those in Montreal. That’s two months to play keep away with your siblings, pretending to be various members of the Staal family out on a sod farm in Thunder Bay. Or maybe you and your buddy are John Tavares and Sam Gagner, who used to skate in Gagner’s backyard so often the pizza delivery guy knew to bypass the house and head straight to the homemade rink. Either way, play hard now, because those days are dwindling.

This shouldn’t come as a newsflash. In 2012, members of McGill University’s department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences proved the skating season in Canada was shrinking. Fifty-five years prior, you’d have had upwards of 15 more days of outdoor shinny. But those days are getting fewer as we continue to burn fossil fuels. Will hockey have to sacrifice the outdoor game for the indoor one?

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Steven Stamkos and the importance of playing other sports

Steven Stamkos (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays are putting up enough offense to win the Rocket Richard Trophy (they have that in baseball too, right?), so it’s no surprise local boy Steven Stamkos – a two-time winner of that accolade himself – dropped by to shag a few pitches himself the other day.

Stamkos is a well-known baseball fan who plays the game in the summer, despite the fact he’s one of the best hockey players in the world. But he’s not the only elite iceman whose sporting pursuits go beyond the arena. And for young players (and their parents), Stamkos is a great role model.

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