Injury to Zucker puts damper on Wild’s impressive Stadium Series showing

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 21:  Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild is attended to following a second period hit by Michal Rozsival #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the TCF Bank Stadium during the 2016 Coors Light Stadium Series game on February 21, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rozsival received a game misconduct on the play.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

It was pretty much a perfect day for the Minnesota Wild as they pasted the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 on home ice in the Stadium Series game.

Yet, there was one incident that put a damper on the Sunday outdoor outing.

Right winger Jason Zucker had to be carted off the ice in the second period after being on the receiving end of a high hit from Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival. He didn’t return to the game, while Rozsival was issued a major penalty and game misconduct for interference. Read more

Report: Maple Leafs to celebrate centennial with outdoor game on New Year’s Day

Jared Clinton
James van Riemsdyk (Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are already a number of expected outdoor games for next season, but add one more to the list as the Toronto Maple Leafs appear to be getting heading outside for their centennial celebration after all.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Maple Leafs are expected to host an outdoor contest on Jan. 1, 2017, and the expected opponent is the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings and Maple Leafs have previously done battle in an outdoor game when Ann Arbor, Mich., played host to the Winter Classic. That game, the 2014 Winter Classic, set the all-time outdoor attendance record for the NHL with nearly 105,500 watching from the stands.

Previously there were reports that, should an outdoor game be played in Toronto, the game would be held at BMO Field, the home stadium of MLS’ Toronto FC. BMO Field seats between 30,000 and 34,000 fans. However, the venue could be expanded to include an additional 10,000 fans. Read more

Report: Winnipeg Jets to host outdoor game in October 2016

Jared Clinton
Investors Group Field (Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

Winnipeg has been long-rumored to be the next Canadian city in line for an outdoor contest, and Manitoba’s capital could be hosting a game as early as October 2016.

According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, the Jets will host an outdoor at Investors Group Field, the home of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, next season. While the announcement of the game hasn’t been made, Shannon also reported the potential opponent for the Jets would be the Edmonton Oilers.

That could mean the contest is given the Heritage Classic tag, but it would be the earliest in the season the Canadian-based outdoor game has happened. Previously, the Heritage Classic was held as early as Nov. 22, but that was all the way back in 2003 when the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens squared off at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in what was just the fourth outdoor game in NHL history. Read more

Report: Penguins, Flyers to square off in outdoor game in 2017

Jared Clinton
The Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins could be taking their rivalry outdoors next season.

According to ESPN’s Scott Burnside, the Flyers and Penguins have been in discussions for an outdoor game in 2017, but there’s currently no decision on whether or not the potential game could be a Stadium Series outing or be next season’s Winter Classic. Read more

Report: Bettman gets contract extension

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Gary Bettman’s reign as NHL commissioner appears as though it will continue on into the next decade.

According to a report from Hall of Fame scribe Michael Farber, Bettman has signed a contract extension that will keep him in his current post through 2022.

Bettman has been commissioner of the NHL since Feb. 1, 1993 when he was hired from the National Basketball Association. Bettman was the NBA’s senior vice-president and general counsel before moving over to the NHL. He became the league’s first commissioner after replacing Gil Stein, who was its last president.

Should Bettman fulfill the terms of his extension, he would rank as one of the longest-serving first-in-commands in professional sports history.

His new deal takes him months shy of his 30th anniversary as commissioner. Sportsnet’s John Shannon notes that NHL president Clarence Campbell worked one year longer. Bettman’s former NBA boss David Stern was commissioner for exactly 30 years when he stepped down in February 2014.

Under Bettman’s watch, the NHL has expanded to 30 teams from 24 and more could be on the way. The league is reviewing applications for new franchises in Las Vegas and Quebec City, although he noted repeatedly Saturday there is no timeline on a decision. NHL players have also participated in the Olympics since 1998 and outdoor games went from a trial event to becoming commonplace.

However, he has governed during three lockouts, including the one that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season. The NHL and NHLPA both have the option of opting out of the current collective bargaining agreement before the start of the 2019-20 season.

Toronto’s rooftop rink is sticking around a little longer, being opened to the public — for a fee

Ian Denomme
(Ian Denomme/The Hockey News)

TORONTO – When Molson Canadian built a hockey rink atop a skyscraper in downtown Toronto, it created the considerable buzz they were going for. So much buzz, in fact, that the rink is remaining open for an extra month and being opened to the public.

Initially part of Molson’s #AnythingForHockey campaign, that contest closed on Dec. 10. But after photos of the rink circulated and the public became interested, they decided to keep it open to let more people experience the rink with sprawling views of Toronto and the CN Tower.

At rooftoprink.ca there is another ongoing contest to let more fans on the rink. There’s also the option of simply buying ice time on the rink. But to do so, you better indeed be willing to do ‘anything for hockey’ – an hour of ice time for 20 people costs $2,000.

Read more

NWHL announces Denna Laing suffered ‘significant spinal injury’ at Outdoor Women’s Classic

Jared Clinton
Denna Laing (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NWHL announced Friday evening that Boston Pride forward Denna Laing suffered a significant spinal injury at the Outdoor Women’s Classic Dec. 31 at Gillette Stadium. Laing has limited movement of her arms and no feeling in her legs, per a release from the NWHL.

Laing, 24, was injured when she went headfirst into the boards of the outdoor rink late in the first period of the contest between the NWHL’s Pride and the CWHL’s Les Canadiennes. Laing had to be stretchered off the ice.

“Our prayer going forward is that Denna can be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a Rehabilitation Center and continue to fight every day with her trademark grit and resolve,” Laing’s parents, Jerilyn and Dennis, said in a statement. “With respect to her long-term prognosis, right now there are more questions than answers. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from countless friends and family members while we try to navigate this overwhelming situation. We are eternally grateful to everyone who continues to offer support as we take on this challenge together.” Read more

Rink spotted on top of building in downtown Toronto

Jared Clinton
(via TripTime1965/Instagram)

Anyone who has grown up in Canada can tell you that there’s almost countless places they’ve thrown on a pair of skates and played hockey. There’s outdoor rinks at community centers, frozen-over ponds and lakes and even the lucky ones who’ve had a backyard rink to play on until they’re frozen solid. One place no one has played, though, is atop a building in downtown Toronto, but that’s about to change.

Instagram user TripTime1965 posted a photo Monday of a rink on top of a building in Toronto’s Financial District, and it appears to be a full-size NHL rink complete with boards and a crisp, clean sheet of ice: Read more