The 10 best names for high school hockey teams in the USA

Ryan Kennedy
Vintage Thief River Falls High School jersey (photo courtesy of The Ryan Kennedy Collection)

High school hockey is still popular in traditional American markets and is beginning to take hold in other states. The Anaheim Ducks, for example, have grown a great league in California in a very short amount of time. Those teams should be applauded for their efforts, but they do have some catching up to do. Not just in producing college players and NHLers, but also in their names (no offense to all the Eagles and Wildcats out there). Check out the best high school hockey names I’ve come across, mining admittedly from traditional hotbeds:

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Minnesota high school teams fighting to keep top talent

Ryan Kennedy
Paul Bittner (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award goes to the state’s most outstanding senior in high school hockey and a perusal of the past winners churns up some pretty impressive names. Ryan McDonagh, Nick Leddy and Nick Bjugstad all earned the honor and each one of them was then taken in the first round of the NHL draft. For years, a Minnesota high schooler always went in the top 30, but those days are gone. Since 2011, the first names called have been second-rounders, but sometimes fifth-rounders. In 2014, a Wisconsin high schooler (Matt Berkovitz, Anaheim) was actually taken before any Minnesota kids, which, traditionally speaking, is insane.

The “State of Hockey” is still producing lots of talent, but those kids are no longer sticking with their schools. Team USA, the United States League, the Western League and prep school Shattuck-St. Mary’s have all taken chunks out of the high school circuit, which still holds its vaunted state tournament at the Minnesota Wild’s XCel Energy Center and packs the house. It’s getting to the point where some scouts are less than enthusiastic about watching the games and a fierce protectionism has frayed relationships at the local level.

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College player throws perfect hip check, sends opponent flying

Jared Clinton
(via Nick Murray/Vine)

There’s been a lot of talk about the lost art of the hip check following Dmitry Kulikov’s low hit on Tyler Seguin, so let Matt Petgrave from University of New Brunswick show you exactly how to deliver one.

During game one of the AUS Semifinal best-of-five series between UNB and St. Francis Xavier, Steven Kuhn cut through the neutral zone towards the UNB zone. As St. FX’s Kuhn crossed the blueline, Petgrave cut across and delivered a perfectly executed hip check that sent Kuhn flipping through the air. (Video courtesy of Nick Murray on Vine) Read more

BCHL player receives misconduct for checking ref from behind

Jared Clinton
(via Hockey Webcast/Vine)

Chalk this up as something you don’t see every day – a junior player running into a referee from behind and sending him sprawling into the boards.

Satuday night in the BCHL, in a game between the Chilliwack Chiefs and Surrey Eagles, Eagles defenseman Latrell Charleson was chasing down a loose puck near the end of the game. As the linesman, Troy Paterson, waves off the potential icing, Charleson shoved referee Kirk Wood into the boards from behind. Read more

Toronto girls’ hockey league’s new no-touch policy between players & coaches source of great debate

Adam Proteau
Girls from the Leaside Girls Hockey Association at Toronto City council in 2009. 
(Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star)

In news that will be welcome to some and troubling to others, a Toronto girls’ hockey league issued an edict to coaches this week that forbids them to touch players on the bench.

On the heels of a complaint to the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association, the league sent coaches an email informing them of the new, zero-tolerance policy on contact with players. The new guidelines also include a ban on social media interactions, and restrictions on when men are permitted to be in dressing rooms and email communication. But the outcry over the email mostly concerns the new rules regarding contact.

“(U)nder no circumstances should there be contact with the players, in any way,” said the directive from John Reynolds, head of the house league. “Putting hands on shoulders, slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING, this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.” Read more

Courage Canada founder DeMontis inspires with blind hockey tournament

Jared Clinton
AMI presents the Courage Canada Blind Hockey Tournament brought to you by CNIB, which kicks off on Feb. 13 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ont. (via YouTube)

When the AMI 2015 Courage Canada Blind Hockey Tournament kicks off on Feb. 13, it will be a celebration of an incredible effort by Mark DeMontis and the Courage Canada team – an effort that has seen the tournament grow, teach and inspire those who participate, watch and volunteer.

Diagnosed with Leber’s optic neuropathy, a rare degenerative eye disease, DeMontis was left blind by age 17. A promising hockey player before losing his vision, DeMontis said he went into a depression from age 19 to 22, something he accredited to being away from the game for so long. In search for something to inspire, DeMontis looked to Chris Delaney, an athlete who after losing his vision to Leber’s like DeMontis, rode across Canada on a tandem bicycle in 1996.

“One day I was looking at my bedside at my parent’s home in Weston, and I had an old pair of rollerblades just sitting there,” said DeMontis. “I remember going to bed that night, and I just had this vision in my head of being on skates across the country, meeting people and getting something moving and started. I didn’t exactly know what that was, but shortly after I realized what I was passionate about was the sport of blind hockey.” Read more

German minor leaguer scores spinning, deking goal of the year candidate

Jared Clinton
Raphael Kaefer celebrates his incredible individual effort. (via EHC Klostersee/YouTube)

What elevates a goal from a normal, run of the mill tally to goal of the year candidacy? Well, it helps if the goal scorer has to beat a few defenders, uses a skillful move or two and dekes out the goaltender before tucking the puck home.

Germany’s Raphael Kaefer checked off all of those boxes on Sunday. Not only does Kaefer make his way up the entire ice, he does so by cutting into the middle, spinning back in the opposite direction, and putting a forehand-backhand move on the goaltender that gives him the entire net to put the puck into.

Oh, and the whole sequence came while Kaefer’s team, EHC Klostersee, was shorthanded. Read more

ECHL will replace three relocated AHL teams in 2015-16

Jared Clinton
ECHL Logo Featured

It may not be the same league, but a trio of cities that were announced to be losing their AHL teams in 2015-16 will see the clubs replaced with ECHL hockey.

Manchester, N.H., Norfolk, Va., and Adirondack, which plays out of Glens Falls, N.Y., will each be recipients of relocated ECHL franchises for next season, each of which will replace a relocated AHL team. Read more