Ten American hockey heroes for the Fourth of July

Steve Christoff and captain Mike Eruzione hop over the boards  (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s the Fourth of July in the United States, which means hot dogs, fireworks and Uncle Sam costumes. But we’re The Hockey News, so we’re going to concentrate on hockey. USA Hockey may not have as many gold medals or international titles as Canada or Russia, but there have been some pretty dramatic championships in America’s history. Here’s a look at the true patriots of the sport:

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Hall of Fame just can’t help being an old boys’ network, can it?

Sergei Makarov (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, you’d have to think, just can’t help itself. Try as it might, it is simply unable to resist the urge to act like an old boys’ network. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it’s made up of 18 white guys, the youngest of whom is 50 years old.

With a blank slate due to the fact that there were no first-time eligible players who were worthy of induction, the committee righted a wrong by finally inducting Eric Lindros seven years after one of the most dominant players of his generation was eligible. Sergei Makarov, a talented winger in the former Soviet Union and a vital cog on one of the most dominant teams in the history of the game. Another solid choice. Tough to argue the induction in the builders’ category with Pat Quinn, a career coach who didn’t win the Stanley Cup, but was the only coach in history lead a team to a World Cup, Olympic gold medal and World Junior Championship.

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Massive Russian doping scandal at 2014 Olympics allegedly included ‘entire women’s hockey team’

Jared Clinton
Yekaterina Smolentseva celebrates with goaltender Anna Prugova (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Every player on Russia’s women’s hockey team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi was reportedly part of large-scale Russian doping program that included “at least 15 medal winners,” according to the New York Times.

In a shocking report published Thursday morning, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during the 2014 Olympics, told the Times’ Rebecca R. Ruiz and Michael Schwirtz of a doping operation that saw as many as 100 potentially positive urine samples destroyed and replaced with clean samples. None of the athletes involved in the reported doping program were caught.

According to the Times, the athletes who were part of the program took a “cocktail of three anabolic steroids — metenolone, trenbolone and oxandrolone.” The mixture allowed the athletes to recover quicker and perform better over the course of a gruelling Olympic schedule, Dr. Rodchenkov told the Times, and the drugs were dissolved into alcohol to both speed up the absorption and “shorten the detection window.” Read more

Amanda Kessel signs with NWHL’s New York Riveters

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
DURHAM, NH - MARCH 20: Amanda Kessel #8 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers raises the championship trophy after winning the 2016 NCAA Division I Women's Hockey Frozen Four Championship against the Boston College Eagles at the Whittemore Center Arena on March 20, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Retirement from hockey seemed likely for Amanda Kessel after battling concussions for the better part of two seasons. But a surprise return to action in February has now sparked a pro career.

Kessel, the younger sister of Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Phil Kessel, signed a one-year, $26,000 contract with the NWHL’s New York Riveters, the team announced Sunday. The deal is for the 2016-17 season.

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USA downs Canada, captures Women’s World Championship on OT goal by Alex Carpenter

Jared Clinton
(via TSN.ca/Vimeo)

For the third-consecutive year, Team USA has captured gold at the Women’s World Championship and it was NCAA standout Alex Carpenter who sealed the deal with the championship-winning goal coming on a scrambled play shortly after the midway mark of the first overtime in front out of a sold-out Canadian crowd.

Shortly after a Canadian penalty ended, the Americans worked the puck around the offensive zone before a shot came from the blueline from Megan Bozek. The shot was deflected on the way in, bounced off the post and sat in the crease behind Canadian netminder Emerance Maschmeyer. Carpenter, the first overall pick in the 2015 NWHL draft, knocked the puck home before Maschmeyer could turn to cover the initial shot,.

“The building just got pretty quiet,” Carpenter told the IIHF’s Lucas Aykroyd of the game-winner. “I wasn’t really sure if it went in. But I was right there – I watched myself put it in. I wasn’t sure if [Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s] original shot went in. But regardless, it went in and that’s what counted.” Read more

Calgary Inferno win big for first Clarkson Cup in franchise history

Jared Clinton
(via CWHL)

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Hayley Wickenheiser has once again ended up atop the women’s hockey world.

One of the greatest women’s players in the history of the sport, Wickenheiser, 37, further added to her legacy Sunday afternoon as her two assists helped the Calgary Inferno take home their first Clarkson Cup in franchise history with a convincing 8-3 victory over the Montreal Les Canadiennes.

While both Montreal and Calgary made it to the Clarkson Cup final with 2-0 series sweeps of Toronto and Brampton respectively, Les Canadiennes were far more dominating and the clear favorite in the final. In their two wins to get to the final, Montreal scored 12 times and allowed only two goals against, while Calgary needed 4-2 and 4-3 wins over Brampton in order to advance to the final. Read more

NWHL teases potential expansion to Toronto, Montreal following Isobel Cup final

Jared Clinton
(via NWHL/YouTube)

The Boston Pride capped off an outstanding opening season for the NWHL Saturday night with a 3-1 victory and series sweep of the Buffalo Beauts to win the inaugural Isobel Cup. The Pride’s victory wasn’t the only news to come out of the NWHL Saturday, however.

Following the Pride’s post-game celebration, announcement of Brianna Decker as playoff MVP and the trophy presentation, the NWHL’s live video stream of the contest flashed a graphic on screen that gave promise that the off-season could be a big one for the burgeoning women’s league: Read more

Where’s your old hockey gear? It might be in one of Liz Pead’s amazing art installations

Liz Pead. (Photo by Matt Larkin/THN)

Is there a more authentically Canadian human being on Earth than Liz Pead? Doubtful.

On a Friday afternoon in November, you find her playing in a celebrity tournament hosted by Brad May, receiving effortless saucer passes from retired NHL defenseman Dave Ellett. She mixes it up on the blue ice, jawing happily with her opponents, some male, some female, hunting for garbage goals. She’s not the fastest player on the ice, but she has a solid excuse: she’s not usually a forward. She’s a goaltender by trade, a student of Sami Jo Small’s school. Oh, and a hockey mom to two children.

While Pead plays, her impeccable work hangs above the glass overlooking the rinks at Oakville’s Sixteen Mile Sports Complex: a giant art installation, as wide as a minivan, depicting Louis Riel and the Church at Batoche in 1885. The church, the blue sky, the trees and the dirt puff out from the canvas – because they are comprised entirely of old hockey equipment. Pead rounds up any used or discarded pieces she can find, many of which come from NHLers, and stitches them into her work. She’s done an extensive Bill Barilko installation. She grew up idolizing the Group of Seven’s Tom Thomson and New York Islanders Hall of Fame goaltender Billy Smith equally. When she acted on stage as a kid, her first big role was ‘Canada Goose.’ Her only line was ‘Honk, honk, honk.’ Someone, please, put her on a stamp right now. She bleeds maple syrup.

So how did an awe-shucks drama nut from New Brunswick become one of her nation’s most innovative artists, whose work pops up in arenas all over the world, who also finds time to stop pucks in tournaments everywhere from Iceland to the Czech Republic?

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