Hayley Wickenheiser pays tribute to bravery of Grace Bowen, a young girl who battled cancer until the end

Adam Proteau
Hayley Wickenheiser and Grace Bowen attend Canada's Walk Of Fame Awards Oct. 18, 2014 in Toronto. (George Pimentel/WireImage)

Through her play on the ice and her commitment to her community off of it, women’s hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser has inspired millions of hockey-playing women and Canadians from all backgrounds. But Wednesday she took time on her website to write a beautiful tribute to a brave young girl who recently passed away after battling cancer.

Wickenheiser initially met the youngster, Grace Bowen, through her cousin at a fitness event approximately a year ago, and was moved by her story, developing a close friendship with the young girl and her family and visiting her in hospital. When Wickenheiser attended Canada’s Walk Of Fame ceremonies in October, she took Bowen along as her guest.

And after she learned of Bowen’s passing, Wickenheiser poured her heart out in a glorious celebration of who the youngster was: a fighter until the very end, when terminal cancer claimed her body March 13; a beautiful and resilient daughter and sister; and a true source of inspiration who will be remembered by anyone who either knew her or knew her story: Read more

2018 Olympic hockey format unveiled. Which countries will make it?

Sidney Crosby. (Getty Images)

Olympic hockey will happen in 2018, NHLers or not. At the very least, the tournament will feature the world’s best female players. Will the men’s elite make the trek to PyeongChang, South Korea? We’ll see. Whatever happens, the IIHF is proceeding as if everyone will come to play. It released the respective formats for Olympic men’s and women’s hockey qualification Wednesday. Let’s break down how each field will be determined – under the assumption NHLers play.

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Olympian Hilary Knight’s involvement in #LikeAGirl campaign makes her an even greater role model

Jared Clinton
Hilary Knight (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The message of the #LikeAGirl campaign struck a chord with Boston Blades forward and U.S. Olympian Hilary Knight the moment she saw the commercial during the Super Bowl.

In the minute-long spot, a voice from behind the camera asks men and women, young and old, to mime tasks, “like a girl.” In the first half, the men and women mimic someone barely capable of accomplishing athletic feats like running, throwing and fighting. In the latter half, young women show exactly how they do those same tasks, running furiously on the spot and fighting with all their might. That’s what struck Knight most.

“The commercial actually changed the way that I saw the phrase previously,” Knight said following her three-goal, five-point game to lead the Blades to the Clarkson Cup final. “Being in the sport that I am, I’ve heard, ‘Oh, you shoot like a girl.’ That implied that you didn’t shoot well enough to be on the ice.” Read more

Boston, Montreal set to clash in CWHL’s Clarkson Cup final

Jared Clinton
Montreal's Julie Chu will look  to add the 2014-15 Clarkson Cup to her trophy case this weekend. (photo by Jess Desjardins/CWHL)

The intense hockey rivalry between Boston and Montreal is set to grow Saturday afternoon when the CWHL’s Boston Blades take on the Montreal Stars in the Clarkson Cup final.

Boston, led by its high-powered offense, will take on a Montreal squad that has yet to surrender a goal in the Clarkson Cup playoffs thanks to the steady goaltending of Charline Labonte.

Labonte, 32, stopped all 62 shots that came her way in Montreal’s back-to-back shutout wins over the second-seeded Calgary Infernos. Calgary, which came into the playoffs after finishing four points ahead of the Stars in the standings, went down in two straight games, losing 4-0 and 2-0 to Montreal. Read more

CWHL MVP Rebecca Johnston has had a brilliant past, awaits brighter future

Rebecca Johnston (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Her pal Tessa Bonhomme likes to refer to Rebecca Johnston as, “a defenseman’s worst nightmare.” And if this season was any indication, it’s only going to get worse.

That’s because Johnston, who already has two Olympic gold medals around her neck, is about the closest thing you can be to a professional in women’s hockey. Her decision to move full-time to Calgary this season was made on the premise that she would only get better being so close to Hockey Canada’s headquarters and all the training facilities it has to offer women’s players. By day, she works part-time for an insurance company, but aside from that it’s all training and playing. Whether it’s Hockey Canada skills sessions or practices with the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, there aren’t many days when Johnston isn’t on the ice. Read more

Hayley Wickenheiser reflects on the loss of Steve Montador

The Hockey News
Hayley Wickenheiser  (Photo by Phillip Chin/WireImage)

By Hayley Wickenheiser

The last few days have almost felt like a fog, a total blur in so many ways. On Saturday, we said our final goodbyes to our good friend, Steve Montador. I truly believe in my heart that he is finally at peace, he certainly looked that way to many of us who paid our respects.

I have lost a few friends at a very young age, mostly tragic accidents or terminal illnesses. Steve’s death doesn’t really fit either criteria. It also hits home much more because our lifestyles were very similar. We have both played a game we have known and loved for our entire lives. The only difference is that Steve’s career ended before mine did and he was left facing the challenges of moving on and coping sooner. Read more

Toronto girls’ hockey league’s new no-touch policy between players & coaches source of great debate

Adam Proteau
Girls from the Leaside Girls Hockey Association at Toronto City council in 2009. 
(Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star)

In news that will be welcome to some and troubling to others, a Toronto girls’ hockey league issued an edict to coaches this week that forbids them to touch players on the bench.

On the heels of a complaint to the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association, the league sent coaches an email informing them of the new, zero-tolerance policy on contact with players. The new guidelines also include a ban on social media interactions, and restrictions on when men are permitted to be in dressing rooms and email communication. But the outcry over the email mostly concerns the new rules regarding contact.

“(U)nder no circumstances should there be contact with the players, in any way,” said the directive from John Reynolds, head of the house league. “Putting hands on shoulders, slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING, this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.” Read more