Fetisov seeks to block players leaving for NHL after being elected to KHL board of directors

Jared Clinton
Viacheslav Fetisov (Sony Pictures Classics)

Slava Fetisov has been elected to the KHL board of directors and there could be some big things coming to the primarily Russian league.

According to Russian hockey reporter Slava Malamud, with Fetisov now on the board of directors, there are two major changes he wants to make to the KHL. First, Fetisov is seeking to expand the league to China, something that has been long talked about but was seen as years from becoming reality.

A report had come in mid-June from player agent Darryl Wolski that the league could possibly put a team for 2016-17, but it remains a major risk for the league. This past season, several teams were accused of being late with payments to players and three of the league’s teams sat out the year due to financial complications.

What’s more shocking than the potential move to China, though, is that Fetisov is also pushing to block Russian players from leaving the KHL. Read more

‘Miracle on Ice’ goaltender Jim Craig selling Olympic memorabilia, asking price is $5.7 million

Jared Clinton
Jim Craig's game-worn jerseys from the 1980 Olympics. (via Lelands)

If you’ve ever wanted to have your own Olympic gold medal, you can now purchase the very one given to ‘Miracle on Ice’ goaltender Jim Craig for a cool $1.5 million. Don’t worry, though, you’ve got until Aug. 1 to round up the cash.

With the help of sports auction house Lelands, Craig, 58, has placed a lot of 19 items up for sale that include famed items like his gold medal, game-worn jerseys and the American flag which he famously draped across his shoulders after winning the gold medal. The prices for the memorabilia – it’s not an auction, it’s a sale – range from the $1.5 million price tag on the Olympic medal to $5,000 for clothing items, such as his Team USA pre-Olympic jacket.

Other items for sale include Craig’s game-used mask, stick, pads and skates from the Lake Placid, New York tournament. In total, the 19-item lot is worth an eye-popping $5.7 million. The sale opens up on Aug. 1 and will close on Nov. 1. Read more

Swedish team to march in Stockholm Pride Parade, appeals to other teams to follow

Jared Clinton
Members of Kiruna IF wearing rainbow-colored jerseys. (via Kiruna IF/Twitter)

Sweden’s Kiruna IF will be marching in Stockholm’s Pride Parade on Aug. 1, and the club’s chairman Johan Kohler is requesting that other teams from Hockeyettan, the Swedish third division that Kiruna plays in, also show their support during the parade.

According to TheLocal.se’s Sophie Inge, Kohler addressed the league’s other teams in a plea on the Kiruna’s website.

“The parade has a sports section where I want to see all the clubs, as well as mine, standing up for everyone’s right to play sports without fear of harassment or being insulted,” Kohler wrote. “So, if you are the chairman or another association leader, put on your match or competition gear and walk with me!” Read more

Japanese goaltender Nana Fujimoto signs with NWHL’s New York Riveters

Jared Clinton
Nana Fujimoto (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Japan’s Nana Fujimoto had already made waves in the NWHL by attending the international free agent camp, but the New York Riveters are giving the 26-year-old goaltender the chance to become the face of women’s hockey in her home country.

Late Monday, the Riveters announced they have inked Fujimoto to a contract for the upcoming NWHL campaign. Fujimoto is coming off of a Women’s World Championship tournament where she was named the top goaltender with a 1-1-0-1 record, one shutout, 1.52 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. Above her obvious talent, her personality made her an obvious choice for the Riveters, said GM Dani Rylan.

“It’s impossible not to fall in love with Nana Fujimoto,” Rylan said in a release. “She is one of the best goaltenders in the world and her sheer joy while playing is contagious to teammates and fans alike. She literally traveled across the globe to earn a spot in the NWHL and we are both honored and ecstatic to welcome a member of Smile Japan to the league.” Read more

New York Riveters sign Lyudmila Belyakova, NWHL’s first Russian player

Jared Clinton
Lyudmila Belyakova (Richard Wolowicz/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

The New York Riveters made NWHL history when they inked Janine Weber to the league’s first free agent contract, but the club has made history of another kind, signing the league’s first Russian player.

Riveters GM Dani Rylan announced this past weekend that the club has signed Russian national team forward Lyudmila Belyakova to a contract for the 2015-16 season. Belyakova was one of the attendees at the league’s international free agent camp and impressed Rylan, which led to the signing.

“Belyakova is a dynamic forward with competitive international experience. She’s goal-oriented and creative around the net,” said Rylan in a release. “We’re excited to showcase international talent in the NWHL and hope Lyudmila is the first of many Russian players to join our league.” Read more

Amanda Kessel’s final NCAA season claimed by concussion

Jared Clinton
Amanda Kessel (Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Amanda Kessel has the potential to be one of the greatest women’s players in the world, but concussion issues that will force her to miss a second straight season and end her NCAA career.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, Kessel, 23, will skip her senior season with the NCAA’s University of Minnesota Gophers. Gophers coach Brad Frost confirmed that Kessel will skip the season to the Herald, saying, “It’s just not worth it for her and her health.”

Kessel has not suited up since playing for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but she hasn’t participated in any of the national team’s events since sustaining the injury. The concussion occurred before the Olympics began, but was cleared to play and posted three goals and six points in five games to finish in a tie for third in tournament scoring. Read more

The Scottish Wayne Gretzky finally hangs up his skates

Tony Hand (Richard and Yolanda Amor Allan)

By Dave Lambert

There isn’t much that keeps Tony Hand awake at night. Comparisons to Wayne Gretzky…he takes them in stride. Being widely acknowledged as his country’s greatest hockey talent…he doesn’t let it affect him. Even walking away from the 1980s dynasty Oilers as a teenager to return to his native Scotland isn’t something he loses any sleep over.

Now, at 47 years old, the man nicknamed the ‘Scottish Gretzky’ has called it a career after a staggering 34 seasons.

Before the points, the plaudits and the Oilers’ interest, Hand was just a hockey-mad kid, trekking six miles to a barn of a rink each day to get on the ice. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, he used the rink as an escape, spending hours on the ice and eventually saving up to buy his first stick – a sturdy $5 Koho, which Hand said “weighed a ton.”

His perseverance paid off, and he made his professional debut for his hometown Murrayfield Racers at the tender age of 14. Read more

Japan’s Nana Fujimoto eyes NWHL spot at international free agent camp

Jared Clinton
Nana Fujimoto (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Last week, the Chicago Blackhawks announced they had invited winger Yushiroh Hirano to prospect camp, while defenseman Ryo Hashimoto was set to attend Columbus Blue Jackets camp. But it’s unlikely either has as good a chance as Nana Fujimoto of making it to the pro level.

Fujimoto, the goaltender for Japan’s national women’s hockey team, is set to attend the NWHL’s upcoming International Team Camp that will take place from July 23 to July 27 in Wilmington and Malboro, Mass. The camp, which will feature free agents from several European countries and a select group of invitees, will give the international talents a chance to make the burgeoning women’s professional league. When it comes to goaltending, Fujimoto has already shown she may have a leg up on her competition.

As the goaltender for Team Japan, Fujimoto competed for her country at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and stole the show at the 2015 Women’s World Championships, being named goaltender of the tournament. Read more