With plans for the 2016 World Cup well underway, we know how the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are going to grow their revenues. So now we can turn our attention to something that can actually grow worldwide interest in the game, the Winter Olympics.
It’s a tournament that has kind of been lost in the shuffle here, largely because of the ambivalence the league has displayed for future participation and its preparations for the World Cup. At the World Cup kickoff in Toronto Wednesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman took a not-so-subtle jab at International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel, saying, “We hear rumors that Rene Fasel may be at some point ready to talk to us,” about Olympic participation.
Shannon Szabados has her eye on a starting job this season, but that doesn’t mean she’ll have to leave the SPHL to play in either of North America’s women’s leagues.
In an interview with the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, Szabados said she was given the opportunity to join the NWHL — the newest professional women’s league in North America and one that will pay its players — but she has instead chosen to return to the Columbus Cottonmouths for her second full season in the men’s league.
“I definitely thought about (the NWHL),” Szabados told Matheson. “I wasn’t contacted directly by a team, but I was by the league. I got all the information about the draft and signing up and, yeah, I read it all.” Read more
The Swedish men’s national team is one of the most successful programs in international hockey history, and now three of the country’s greatest players are now joining the front office staff.
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association announced Tuesday that Mats Sundin, Nicklas Lidstrom and Daniel Alfredsson will all be aiding Sweden’s men’s national program going forward — and they’ll be doing so free of charge. Reason being, said the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s development chief Tommy Boustedt, is the three legendary national team members want to give back to the program.
“We have not talked about any compensation whatsoever,” Boustedt told Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet. “All three have said they want to be involved and give back what they have received from the Swedish ice hockey.” Read more
If Alex Ovechkin’s dedication to suiting up for the Russian national team wasn’t obvious from his scrambling across the pond to play in the 2015 World Championship, his commitment to playing in the 2018 Olympics should be all the evidence you need.
In an interview Wednesday, Ovechkin said that no matter the NHL’s decision on whether NHL players will be allowed to play at the 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, he’ll be pulling on the Russian sweater at the tournament.
“The same situation was with the (2014) Sochi Games, they said NHL could not be allowed to come,” Ovechkin told Russian outlet TASS. “I hope the sides will reach an agreement.
“Anyway, I and other players will definitely come [to the 2018 Olympics].” Read more
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
Women’s hockey is continually growing in popularity, thanks in large part to league’s such as the CWHL and the upstart NWHL, and Elite Prospects is keeping up with the addition of more than 700 women’s players to its database.
The hockey statistics website announced Tuesday that they are undertaking a massive project to add women’s players throughout the world, which began with Swedish winger and Olympian Erika Grahm, who plays club hockey for MODO in Riksserien, Sweden’s women’s elite league.
In an interview with Sweden’s Expressen, Grahm said it was a great honor being the first women’s player to have all her stats added .
“There are many who asked why we are not with (the men) and (I would have) really have liked to answer it,” Grahm told Expressen. “I wondered, too. But it is a step in the right direction.” Read more
The same day Connor McDavid wore his Edmonton Oiler colors for the first time ever on the ice, his bosses were upstairs going about the process of giving him some legitimate NHL players to surround him.
It’s difficult, nay impossible, to declare the winners and losers of a free agent frenzy day before Canada Day has even included, but it’s difficult to not get excited about what’s going on in western Canada these days. The oil patch has been sucked dry of good hockey for so long that sometimes it looked as though neither the Oilers nor the Calgary Flames were ever going to get it right.
When the braintrust for Canada’s World Cup of Hockey team met Monday to begin the task of assembling the Canadian team for the tournament, each member of the management team was asked to present a mock roster based on the playoffs and recent World Championship. And the way GM Doug Armstrong sees it, everybody’s first list probably has the same 15 or 16 players on it.
We’re not giving anything away when we say that list almost certainly includes Carey Price in goal, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, P.K. Subban and Alex Pietrangelo on defense and Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin at forward.