Help Jack Jablonski create the world’s largest stick-tap

Jared Clinton
JablonskiCover

It’s a sign of respect, appreciation, and a cheer for those who get back up from injury. In leading the world’s largest stick-tap, Jack Jablonski hopes to capture one of hockey’s greatest traditions to lead the charge in support and awareness for those looking to recover from spinal cord injuries.

Jablonski, who turned 19 on Oct. 25, was left without the use of his arms and legs by a hit during a high school hockey game when he was only 16. After the diagnosis came, the outpouring began. From Wayne Gretzky to Pavel Datsyuk, the well wishes rolled in. All the while, the young Minnesota native believed he could, if he truly worked for it, get back on the ice. Read more

10-year-old sniper notches best hat trick you’ll see all season

Jared Clinton
Humberview Huskies forward Owen Thompson celebrates his second of three bar down goals. (via YouTube)

Slide over, Corey Perry. There’s a new king of the hat trick.

Sure, Perry’s two three-spots already this season are an incredible testament to his supreme skills, but he just didn’t do it with quite the flare 10-year-old Owen Thompson did.

Just last Friday, Thompson, who plays for the Humberview Huskies of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, scored what may be the most incredible trio of goals you’ll see all season: Read more

Human rights verdict great news for transgendered players, hockey

Adam Proteau
Patrick Burke (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Score another one for progress and understanding in the hockey community: as part of a settlement with a Canadian human rights group, Hockey Canada has agreed to allow transgendered minor hockey players in Ontario to choose which dressing room they use before stepping onto the ice.

The settlement ends a human rights complaint filed in August of 2013 by Oshawa, Ont., native Jesse Thompson, a 17-year-old who identifies as a male and who faced numerous obstacles in finding acceptance in the hockey world. Thompson’s mother, Alisa Thompson, told The Canadian Press her son was thrown out of dressing rooms by unenlightened coaches.

“Parents would come in and kick Jesse out of the girls’ change room because it was for girls only,” Alisa Thompson said. Read more

Who is the best team in every American state? We made a map

Ryan Kennedy
Alaska-Idaho

Summer is a time for whimsy, so I thought it would be fun to figure out which team is the best in all 50 states of the good ol’ USA. In some cases it was simple: Just mark down the local NHL team. In others not so much. For example, right off the hop you have Alabama. The state has a Division 1 college team in Alabama-Huntsville and a Southern Pro League team in the Huntsville Havoc. While the Havoc play in the low minors, they were a playoff squad. The Chargers, on the other hand, got wrecked last season, winning just two of 48 games. So I went with the Havoc.

The pecking order was pretty simple and based on last season’s standings: NHL, AHL, ECHL at the top, followed by the Central League, SPHL, college, major junior and the United States League. Other than Alabama, no judgement calls had to be made. The only exception to the standings rule was California. Yes, Anaheim had a better record in the regular season, but the Kings won the Stanley Cup and beat the Ducks in the playoffs. To the victors go the spoils.

Also, Hawaii was not included because according to USA Hockey, there are 19 registered players in the state and only 15 are adults.

In states where no pro, junior or Division 1 college team exist (there are eight), I chose the top NCAA club team. UNLV gets the nod in Nevada because the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers went dark after the season ended and won’t return until at least 2015-16.

Without further ado, here’s a look at the teams that rule, state by state:

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Why Gary Bettman was right about hockey in Phoenix

Henrik-Samuelsson

Every year, hockey writer Chris Peters does some serious Yeoman’s work and crunches the raw data put out by USA Hockey regarding grassroots participation in the nation. In his latest post, Peters notes that the state of Arizona was one of the biggest gainers for 2013-14 and I would hazard to guess that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman feels pretty good about that.

As you will no doubt recall, Bettman has played a big part in keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix in recent years, even as many Canadian writers howled (see what I did there?) about bringing the franchise north, where attendance would be plentiful instead of pitiful.

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Dwight King got his start on a unique First Nations team

Ryan Kennedy
Dwight-King-Jeff-Carter

NEW YORK, NY – Rangers fans already hate Dwight King thanks to his crease-interrupting abilities and the way they turned Game 2, but the big-bodied left winger came about his NHL career earnestly and developed under unique circumstances.

King, who is Metis, played his midget hockey in the Saskatchewan League with Beardy’s Blackhawks, the only program in Canada run by and based off a First Nations reserve. While the team is not exclusively made up of those with First Nations status, King estimated that the mix was about 50-50 during his playing days. Back then he followed in the footsteps of older brother D.J. King, who played in the NHL for both St. Louis and Washington.

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Why doesn’t New York develop hockey players? Maybe Rangers can help

Mark-Messier

NEW YORK, NY – For a city that boasts so many people, New York is surprisingly poor when it comes to developing hockey players. Sure, Joey Mullen has a great legacy, but in recent years, there haven’t been too many NHL prospects from the area.

Carolina pick Brett Pesce comes from Tarrytown, where the Rangers practice, while New Jersey prospect Steven Santini hails from the exurb of Mahopac. In the 2014 draft, fans can look for high-flying left winger Sonny Milano of Long Island, but there aren’t a ton of other big names.

Hall of Famer Mark Messier is beloved in New York thanks to his play and leadership in 1994, when he steered the Rangers to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title in 54 years. Now, he’s helping the grassroots in the city by working for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center project, which would bring nine rinks to a new complex developed from an old armory in the Bronx.

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