From haka to hockey: Love of the game in the most unlikely places on Earth

Jared Clinton
(via YouTube)

The New Zealand All Blacks made the haka part of popular culture. The traditional dance has been a fixture of the rugby squad’s games for over 100 years. Haka have been seen in basketball, soccer, and now, thanks to New Zealand’s U20 hockey team, in hockey.

Before taking on South Africa at the IIHF U20 Div. 3 tournament, being held in Dunedin, New Zealand, the New Zealanders removed their helmets and gloves, approached the red line performing the dance, while the South African squad refused to back down, staring right into the eyes of their opponents. Read more

Good on B.C. amateur league for harsh response to repellent abusive fans

Adam Proteau
(Image via Getty Images)

The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association released Friday an open letter warning members they’re pondering a “spectator-free weekend” of action in response to fans abusing officials and players. And it’s about time other amateur leagues across the continent followed their lead and took similarly harsh measures to address a growing problem.

Minor hockey leagues have realized for years now they have an issue on their hands: the overzealous, expectant hockey parent – the alleged “adult” who thinks it within their right to abuse teenaged referees or players, as if they had some sort of final say on a subjectively-officiated sport. VIAHA president Jim Humphrey made it clear they are ruining the game and the ability of young people to learn and grow in different roles and remain in the system: Read more

High school coach charged after allegedly shoving, biting referee

Jared Clinton
Taunton High School Logo

A high school coach in Massachusetts has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct following an incident in which he allegedly chest-bumped, shoved and bit a referee following his team’s 9-1 loss on Wednesday night.

According to a police report, the altercation was fuelled by an icing call that Taunton High School coach, 46-year-old William C. Kenney III, disagreed with. Kenney was released and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf, according to a report from The Boston Globe. Read more

High school hockey player dekes entire team to set up incredible goal

Jared Clinton
(via Shore Sports Zone/YouTube)

Julian Kislin was only credited with the primary assist on teammate Max Halvorsen’s goal, but he should probably get a secondary helped, and maybe a third just for good measure.

Kislin, a 15-year-old defenseman from New Jersey who plays high school hockey for Freehold Township, got the puck at center and put moves on not one, not two, not three, not four, but all five players from Middletown North. He then slid the puck over to Halvorsen, who finished the job. Read more

U.K. elite league player’s helmet-throwing, spearing meltdown results in his release

Adam Proteau
Joe Grimaldi of the Edinburgh Capitals (top right) throws his helmet at Maxime Langelier-Parent of Nottingham. (Image via http://gfycat.com/BogusCharmingFrillneckedlizard)

The days of daily lunacy on professional hockey rinks are gone. But every so often, you’ll still see a player do the indefensible in a retro-minded kind of way (back when it was defensible). And on Saturday night in Edinburgh, Scotland, an Elite Ice Hockey League game saw a vintage meltdown when Joe Grimaldi of the Edinburgh Capitals went berserk on his opponent, spearing him and throwing his helmet at him before a fistfight began. And this time, there were serious repercussions.

Grimaldi, a defenseman who spent time in the AHL and ECHL before heading to the U.K. league last season, apparently thought it was well within his rights to snap on Maxime Langelier-Parent of Nottingham, first jabbing his stick into Parent, then taking off his helmet and using it as a weapon before engaging in a fight: Read more

ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors have one jersey to rule them all

Jared Clinton
CondorsHobbitFeatured

There are few things in hockey greater than minor league jersey promotions, and the newest Bakersfield Condors jersey is no exception.

The ECHL’s Condors will be donning Lord of the Rings/Hobbit jerseys on Dec. 27, which will feature, “hobbits, dragons, fire and much much more!” This latest jersey comes on the heels of the Condors Seinfeld “Puffy Shirt” jerseys that the team wore in November. Read more

To get back on top Hockey Canada needs program like U.S.’s NTDP

Jacob Trouba and Seth Jones (Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Basking in the afterglow of a world junior gold on Russian ice two years ago, future Nashville defenseman Seth Jones let some knowledge drop on me: he had played with almost every other member of the U.S. D-corps in the past. That’s because Jones was a graduate of the U.S. National Team Development Program, just like Jacob Trouba, Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy and Pat Sieloff.

Eight members of that squad also won gold at the 2011 world under-18s, a tournament the Americans have dominated for the past decade, winning seven of 10 gold medals. There was a familiarity among the unit, and it translated on the ice. And since Canada has struggled to reach its lofty goals at the WJC lately (the CHL playoffs conflict with the under-18s so success there is haphazard), I began wondering if it was time for a Canadian NTDP.

Imagine two hot-housed all-star teams (under-17 and under-18) dedicated to developing not just NHL prospects, but players who could win Canada golds in international tournaments. In the past five years, the Canucks have only one title in 10 tries combined at the under-18s and world juniors. Read more