Month: January 2017 (page 1 of 5)

Hischier outshines Patrick at prospects game, takes top player honors

By

Nolan Patrick got his hands on the trophy in the end, but it was No. 2 ranked North American skater Nico Hischier who had scouts, pundits, and fans alike buzzing after the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City.

Hischier scored a gorgeous breakaway goal off a Patrick turnover with a silky backhand move and also added two assists to take top player honors in a losing effort for Team Orr.

Related: Hischier scores beautiful goal at prospects showcase

He outshone the presumptive No. 1 NHL draft choice with a dynamic offensive showcase, though Patrick, the captain for Team Cherry, did have a productive outing, collecting two assists and impressing physically.

Hischier, a Halifax Mooseheads center, has picked up momentum throughout his draft season. He scored four goals and seven points in five games at the World Junior Championship, and U.S. coach Bob Motzko labeled Hischier the best player his gold medal-winning side faced in the tournament after he nearly willed Switzerland past the Americans in the quarterfinal.

Gabe Valiardi and Owen Tippett, the third- and fourth-ranked North American skaters, also scored for Team Cherry.

Turkmenistan’s ice hockey team prepares for Asian Winter Games debut

http://www.ocasia.org/Images-OCA/Turkmenistan-ice-hockey-team-prepares-for-Asian-Wi_86759370019348.jpg

By The Golden Age Online Newspaper

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, January 20, 2017: Turkmenistan’s men’s ice hockey team will make its debut at the Olympic Council of Asia’s 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, next month, and part of the build-up included the Ministry of Internal Affairs Cup at the National Winter Sports Centre in Ashgabat. Seven teams, divided into two groups, took part in the competition, which ended with Galkan beating Shir in the final.

Galkan forward Eziz Akmuhammedov, who scored five goals in the final, was named best forward of the tournament. Iliya Veliyev (Shir) and Kerimly Chariyev (Galkan) were named best defenseman and best goalie, respectively.

Chariyev plays for the national team and will be on the roster for the OCA’s 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo from February 19-26, when Turkmenistan will play in Division Two Group B against Malaysia, Macau-China, Indonesia and Iran.

It will be the first time for Turkmenistan’s hockey players to compete in such a prestigious international tournament.

Metropolitan defeats Pacific in All-Star Game final

https://nhl.bamcontent.com/images/photos/286245436/960x540/cut.jpg

By Tim Campbell – NHL.com

Wayne Simmonds checked all the boxes at the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game, including scoring the winning goal for the Metropolitan Division in a 4-3 victory against the Pacific Division in the championship of the 3-on-3 tournament at Staples Center on Sunday.

The Philadelphia Flyers forward, who was named the MVP, said he had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish in his first NHL All-Star Game.

“Just don’t make yourself look like an idiot,” Simmonds said. “Don’t dump and chase. Try to keep the puck on your stick. There’s a lot of great players around … and I was thinking maybe just defer to everybody else to be honest with you. But it ended up that I had some big goals. It was great playing with all those guys.”

WATCH: All-Star highlights

Simmonds and Cam Atkinson scored five seconds apart midway through the second half to help the Metropolitan Division rally from down 3-2 at the intermission.

The Metropolitan players split the $1 million prize awarded to the winning team.

Playing the second half, Metropolitan goalie Braden Holtby didn’t allow a goal. He got help from the goal post and defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Ryan Kesler‘s shot with about 40 seconds left.

“It was quite a kick save,” Holtby said of McDonagh. “It’s a game-saver right there. I think we were both surprised that it stayed out.”

After Atkinson tied the game 3-3 by scoring on his own rebound with 5:03 left, Metropolitan forward Taylor Hall won the ensuing faceoff by pushing past Pacific center Jeff Carter.

“I didn’t even tell the guys on the ice I was doing it,” said Hall, the New Jersey Devils forward who played for the Pacific Division last season when it won the first 3-on-3 All-Star Game tournament. “I just saw they were lined up three across on the red line and tried to push it through.

“It seemed to work out a couple times like that during the game. It’s fun to try that kind of stuff in an all-star game.”

Breaking quickly on a 2-on-0, Hall fed a perfect pass to Simmonds, who had skated past Pacific defenseman Drew Doughty and beat goalie Mike Smith with 4:58 left to break the 3-3 tie.

“It was kind of funny because I stuck my stick behind [Doughty’s] helmet on the faceoff and flipped it up, so possibly he was trying to fix it,” Simmonds said. “[Hall] went forward with it, and I just took off … I said to [Hall] before, ‘I’m going to try backdoor on one of these plays,’ and about a foot from the net I just thought, ‘Just hit me with the puck and hopefully I can put it in.’

“That’s exactly how we scored.”

Simmonds, who had two goals in the Metropolitan Division’s 10-6 semifinal win against the Atlantic Division, won a 2017 Honda Ridgeline as MVP.

Joe Pavelski, Connor McDavid and Bo Horvat scored for the Pacific Division, all in the first half against Metropolitan goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Defensemen Seth Jones and Justin Faulk scored for the Metropolitan Division in the first half.

In the second half of a tight game, the pace and intensity picked up dramatically.

“When you get to the final, you might as well try to win,” Metropolitan Division captain Sidney Crosby said. “You could see the intensity, guys backchecking and blocking shots. It started to get a little more serious as it went along. That’s to be expected. Guys are competitive.

“And who’d have thought the offside rule would come into play there, but you need the bounces if you’re going to win.”

The Pacific Division thought it went ahead 4-2 at 3:24 of the second half when Kesler’s shot went in off McDonagh.

But Metropolitan coach Wayne Gretzky challenged the goal, and video review showed Pacific captain Connor McDavid was offside.

“It helped us win, right?” Simmonds said. “That was the game-changer.”

The 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend included the announcement Friday of the final 67 of the League’s 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian.

Before the Central Division and Pacific opened the 3-on-3 tournament, 48 of those 67 legends were introduced and came out onto the Staples Center ice before the four All-Star teams made their entrance.

Each all-star exchanged fist-bumps down the line of legends.

“That was pretty surreal, crazy,” Holtby said. “You were giving them fist-bumps, but it was almost like you’re doing them a dishonor, that you should be shaking those guys’ hands.

“When I passed Ken Dryden and I’m fist-bumping him, I felt like I should be shaking his hand and saying how much he’s meant to the game and to me. It was very cool. I’m glad they all looked like they enjoyed it and got the recognition they deserve.”

First Ice Hockey Game Played in Tajikistan

https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/s526x395/16142780_1861286954127942_6957726815930995451_n.jpg?oh=a2db1c44da0d49ff20270845b56769e0&oe=59489411

By Steven Ellis – Eurohockey.com

The first ever ice hockey game in Tajikistan took place on January 8th, with the debut match taking place between Safed Dara and Farozom at the Safed-Dara resort.

Not many details of the game are known, but from shared footage online, it appears as though the game featured five players at each end, with one player each playing goalie in player equipment.

With a population of about 8.208 million, the cold country is surrounded by China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, who all have hockey programs of their own. Tajikistan was supposed to be apart of the bandy portion of the 2011 Asian Winter Games, but the team had to back out prior to the tournament.  

The city of Khujand has a rink, even though the game wasn’t played there. The rink measures at 30mx40m, much smaller than the official IIHF-required rink size of 61mx26m. 

The organizers of the first game, Safed-Dara, were trying to put a team together for a game on January 21st, but just posted footage of their second recorded game on January 29th.

Barkov confident about future of Chinese hockey

By Alistair McMurran – IIHF.com

China’s surprise 2-1 loss to Turkey in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division III final will not dint the confidence of new head coach Alexander Barkov.

The experienced Russian coach, who also played and coached in Finland and is the father of Finnish national team and NHL forward Aleksander Barkov, was hired late to become the head coach of the Chinese men’s under-20 side that was expected to win the U20 Division III gold medal.

China was demoted from Division II Group B last year and was desperate to get promotion back to the higher grade.

There is an air of expectation in Chinese ice hockey circles that the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 will lift the profile and standard of the sport in their country.

China is currently ranked 37th in the world. If it stayed at this level they would be easy beats at the Olympic Games. Therefore there are ambitions to make China Olympic-ready.

“We don’t want to go there at the level where hockey in China is now. We are determined to improve the hockey standard in China,” the 51-year-old Barkov said.

Barkov and his assistants have only been working with the Chinese under-20 national since being appointed late in December. In that short time he has improved the speed on the ice and the attitude of the Chinese players. But there remains a lot of work to do.

But his ambitions for Chinese hockey go further than this. He wants China to be competitive at the 2022 Olympics Winter Games in Beijing.

The surprise 2-1 loss has shown Barkov that there is work to be done to get his team winning tight games when there is sustained pressure from their opponents.

The job at the moment for Barkov is to build a hockey system in China that will lift the ranking of China from 37th where it stands at the moment. He has a contract to work with Chinese hockey until the Winter Olympics in 2022.

“This was just a first step because many of these players will be in the Chinese Olympic team then,” Barkov said.

“It is our long-term project to bring these kids to a higher standard. It starts with work ethics and attitude and ends with the coaching skills from the team staff.”

The Chinese team demonstrated sound team work on the ice and the speed of the players on the ice has improved.

“We’ve been training to get speed on skates and everything else,” Barkov said. “We spend time on all the basics – shooting, and tactics.”

They play a European style of hockey and know how to use every part of the ice rink.

“We always use as much of the ice as is possible,” Barkov said. “We try to use the skills that the players have. We are not asking them to do anything they cannot do.

“We ask the players to follow the coach’s instructions on the ice but still leave room for the players to use their own skills and imagination.”

Barkov, a former centre, had a long career in the Soviet Union with his hometown team Sibir Novosibirsk and Spartak Moscow. After a short stint in Italy he later played for Tappara Tampere in Finland for ten years.

He represented Russia at three World Championships (1992, 1997, 1999) and then started coaching.

He was an junior coach at Tappara Tampere and an assistant coach for the senior team, then worked for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Ak Bars Kazan and Amur Khabarovsk in the Kontinental Hockey League for four years.

He then had a short stint with the Finnish under-20 team where the entire coaching staff was replaced during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship before becoming the Chinese coach afterwards.

NHL in China could happen ‘in relative near future’

http://storage.torontosun.com/v1/dynamic_resize/sws_path/suns-prod-images/1297919797598_ORIGINAL.jpg?quality=80&size=420x

By Mike Zeisberger – Toronto Sun

When it comes to China, hockey is nowhere as popular as hoops. It might never be. With retired 7-foot-6 Yao Ming as a spokesperson for basketball in his native country, that’s a tall order.

But during his recent trip there, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly heard the same message over and again about that country’s growing fascination with the world’s fastest sport. From government representatives. From potential sponsors. Even during a Metallica concert at one of the venues he was checking out with Chinese officials.

It seems more and more, Daly learned, Chinese kids are into pucks.

“Everyone there kept telling me: “We’ve got a long way to go to catch up to basketball in China, but the bottom line is the younger demographic really connects with our game and thinks it’s cool,” Daly said in a phone interview with Postmedia.

“Not only that, they want to see it more.”

Ask, and ye shall receive.

If Daly and the league have their way, pre-season games involving NHL teams will be held in China as early as this September/October, with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks among the parties reportedly interested. In a perfect world, the press conference unveiling the NHL’s plans will be a spectacle attended by fans, politicians and local children who are among the 1,100 hockey players the International Ice Hockey Federation claims are registered in the nation of 1.375 billion people.

(For the record, various Chinese outlets report the number of people playing hockey in that country is closer to 3,000.)

In any event, Daly and NHL officials understand that inside the borders of the world’s most popular country is a vast untapped frontier with limitless potential to grow both the sport and the revenues that go along with it.

In his visit to China last week, Daly’s activities included: Meeting with government officials looking to the NHL for advice in preparation for the 2022 Beijing Olympics; negotiating with companies eager to get a piece of the league’s sponsorship pie; and trying to lay the foundation that would see the country host exhibition games.

Daly had envisioned what the hockey environment in China might be like. But it took actually flying halfway around the world to have it all sink in.

In fact, Daly admitted his experience in China fueled his enthusiasm about the league’s hopes to establish a footprint in that country.

“I think in a lot of ways it did,” Daly said. “I think once you are there it makes it more real and less theoretical.

“We hope we’re at the point where the commissioner (Gary Bettman) can go over there and have the same reaction. We hope that happens in the relative near future. And it definitely makes it more real. There seems to be a high level of interest in learning the game.”

In 2004, Ming’s Houston Rockets played a two-game exhibition series against the Sacramento Kings, the NBA’s first such contests held in China. Those events gave basketball the type of momentum in China that Daly hopes hockey will enjoy via similar preseason contests.

“In my three days there, part of the process was working on moving the (preseason) game project along,” Daly said. “It seems that the NBA, having brought games over there, has been a game changer over there as far as basketball is concerned.

“Now everybody is excited about the prospect of NHL teams coming over. So, we’re obviously trying to make that happen as soon as possible. We’re still holding out hope it can happen (this year) but if that doesn’t happen I expect it’ll happen the following year. If you’re able to finalize that, you go over there to make the announcement. And you probably put some of our youth grass roots hockey infrastructure in place around the announcement with some of the local youth hockey organizations but also along with some of the local governments in the bigger cities and even sponsors.

“That’s another thing – corporate sponsors wanting to connect with the NHL and the brands, well, I would say, there’s a lot of interest. That’s all helpful too. So that’s really what’s next for us. It’s kind of incremental.”

To that end, Daly and the league last week completed a five-year partnership deal with Chinese internet giant Tencent which will see the company carry selected NHL games on its video sites and mobile platforms. The league already has an agreement with China’s public broadcaster CCTV to show a cache of NHL contests.

The catalyst for the Chinese government’s interest in hockey revolves around the looming 2022 Games, which are being looked upon to spike the number of people playing hockey there.

“I was surprised was the level of interest and curiosity about the game,” Daly said. “A lot of that has been spurred by the announcement of the Beijing Winter Olympics. I met with a couple of government officials in different capacities and a lot of people are focused on building some grass roots infrastructure and building a national team that can competitive at the Olympics, even if they don’t win a game. There’s a desire to do that.

“What I see as the opportunity is that, because there is a desire to do that, they want to engage in a whole list of levels. And again, there is government support for partnering to do that. And they were asking for our help and our expertise in helping to build on that culture. That I view as a real opportunity.”

This past summer, Connor McDavid took a trip to China as part of a BioSteel sponsorship event while Bruins winger Matt Beleskey also traveled there as part of a Boston contingent helping to teach kids about the game.

After last week, you can add Daly to the list of those with NHL connections who have been to China. And now that he’s returned to North America, he has a better grasp on the climate for hockey in that country.

In fact, he’s got a better grasp on China’s climate, period, one that seems to be more conducive to hockey than he ever thought possible.

“It was cold,” Daly said. “I expected it to be warmer. Everyone said Beijing was more of a summer Olympic city than a winter Olympic city. But it was cold there. And I didn’t bring an overcoat.”

Define “cold.”

“It was below zero Celcius. One day it was minus 11 C.”

Welcome to China, Bill Daly.

Welcome to China, National Hockey League.

BEIJING SILENCE

Bill Daly was asked a lot of questions during his whirlwind three-day visit to China.

Surprisingly, queries about the possible inclusion of NHL players at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics weren’t among them.

“I expected that topic to come up at the meetings I had and it didn’t,” Daly told Postmedia in a phone interview. “And I had a lot of meetings.

“Even with the government entities which included China Winter Sport Federation and Ice Hockey Association, NHL participation in terms of player participation at the Beijing Games didn’t come up once. Again, maybe it’s because they assume it, maybe it’s because they don’t even know we participate.

“They want our help preparing for the Games. Like I said, NHL participation didn’t come up.”

Meanwhile Daly said the issue of NHLers taking part in the 2018 Games in South Korea remains in limbo.

“Originally I had kind of hoped to have a resolution by the end of the calendar year,” Daly said. “But because we don’t have one and because we have a contingency plan (schedule-wise) for if we’re going and not going, we really haven’t established any type of time frame.

“I can tell you this: There’s been no change in everyone’s respective positions.”

“The Organizers surpassed all expectations”The 2017 Week of Hockey Stars

By KHL.ru

30,000 spectators, 122 players, 165 volunteers, 7,000 prizes, a ton-and-a-half of props, instant consignment of photographs and much more. KHL.ru presents a statistical overview of the biggest hockey festival of the year – the Week of Hockey Stars in Ufa.

The 2017 Week of Hockey Stars in Ufa enjoyed its grand finale last weekend and it will go down in history for being the first event to encompass matches featuring the finest players from three leagues – the Kontinental Hockey League, the Women’s Hockey League (WHL) and the Youth Hockey League (YHL). Every fan who witnessed the event, be they one of the thousands who travelled to the Bashkir capital and watched from the stands or one of the multitudes who followed the drama from a distance, will cherish their own unique and priceless memories of the Week of Hockey Stars. To measure the depth of the impressions made on all the fans is a task that would defeat the finest minds, but a look at some selected facts and figures can be highly illuminating as well as fascinating.

Sporting contest

Starting with the action on and around the ice, the YHL Challenge Cup, WHL All-Star Game and KHL All-Star Game boasted a combined total of 122 players, 14 coaches (including the four popular TV commentators who worked as guest coaches) and 12 referees. Obviously, when judging the quality of the contests themselves, we must look further than merely at the number of talented and famous names. We must consider the sporting element, particularly the competitiveness of the matches. All the games were highly intense battles, and three of them – the YHL Challenge Cup, the first KHL All-Star Game semi-final and the big final itself – finished with a winning margin of just a solitary goal. Moreover, the Challenge Cup was such a hard-fought affair that it had to be decided in the shootout. The first Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game in Russian history will linger long in the memory, not least because the West kept the opposition off the scoreboard with an emphatic 4-0 triumph over the women from the East.

As for the Master Show, not only did it thrill the fans, but it also gave us a new record in the first event of the evening, the Fastest Skater The previous best lap time was 13.178 seconds, posted by Wojtek Wolski back in 2015, and this was eclipsed in the first outing by Torpedo forward Alexei Potapov, who clocked. 12.952 seconds, but his achievement was soon surpassed by three more players: Francis Pare (Medvescak), Ivan Telegin (CSKA) and the quickest of them all Enver Lisin of Salavat Yulaev, who completed a circuit in only 12,450 seconds.

The spectators

On four of the days in the Week of Hockey Stars there was a near full-house at the Ufa Arena. A total audience of over 30,000 fans came to watch the tricks and stunts from the likes of Vladimir Tkachyov (Ak Bars), Andrei Altiparmakyan (SKA-Silver Lions), Alevtina Shtaryovaya (Tornado), and many other masters of the game.

In addition, every fan had the chance to test his mettle as a hockey player in the leisure and entertainment facilities at the arena and the surrounding Fan Zone – comprising a total area of over 2,000 square meters and boasting more than 30 different games and competitions. Those who visited the Coca-Cola stand could try their luck in a simulation of one of the contests from the Master Show, the Hockey Biathlon. In all, around 7,000 people went home from the event as the proud owner of one or more of the memorable prizes offered by partners of the KHL and the Week of Hockey Stars.

And in addition to pretending to be one of the stars, the fans also got the chance to meet them by attending the popular autograph sessions, featuring Danis Zaripov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk) and Kirill Kaprizov (Salavat Yulaev) plus many of the juniors, to whom around 500 people flocked. The female stars went further, and ventured out to meet the public. Ekaterina Zakharova, Yulia Sadykova and Natalia Vorontsova surprised the fans by visiting 5 hockey shooting ranges in the Fan Zone to give the supporters a master class. On one day alone, the Sunday of the KHL All-Star Game, the fans fired off more than 7,000 shots at the target. One third of the visitors were women, and one in five of the ladies won a prize for hitting 3 out of 5 targets. The visitors ranged in age from 3 to 65 years, although on one occasion an eighteen-month-old toddler grabbed a hockey stick and joined in the fun.

Still and moving pictures

Among the battalions of TV production crews working on the broadcasts one could find the finest creative minds and the similarly impressive technical arsenal of the national sports channel, Match TV. Around 100 professionals worked with meticulous care to capture, record, and broadcast images from more than 25 television cameras, including 4 ultra-slow-motion cameras, a sliding “spider-camera,” and cameras worn by the players or embedded in the arena’s ice.

Viewers were given that special “part of the action” feeling thanks to the latest virtual graphics, and the event also heralded the debut in Russian hockey of a webcast in 360º format, which on YouTube alone attracted approximately 40,000 people. One of the undisputed highlights of the Master Show – the shootout attempt by Vladimir Tkachyov – has set its sights on breaking records for views, having already reached the 430,000 mark.

The size of the audience and the activity of fans on social networks (comments, likes, retweets, etc.) during the Week of Hockey Stars was 50% higher than for the regular season. This was doubtless helped by the KHL Photoagency breaking new ground by using instant transfer of captured images to the League’s server, from where the photos could be downloaded and uploaded to the social networks by LIVE system, thereby providing fans with the latest and most relevant “hot” content. And the sharp drop in the time needed for edited pictures to appear on the KHL Photoblog allowed all the online followers to use the pictures on various information resources.

 

 

 

The official website of the KHL also provided a LIVE text broadcast of the Master Show and the All-Star Game, which included many exclusive details from the arena, including ones the fans could not see from the stands, plus TV broadcasts from the locker rooms, from the spaces under the stands, or from the team benches. The content included photos, videos, comments from participating players, as well as live broadcasts via Periscope: an interview with Sergei Mozyakin (11,000 views), joint analysis from Oleg Znarok and Sergei Gimayev of their opponents (6,000 views), and more. As it stands, every LIVE-stream broadcast attracted around 20,000 views.

Organizational round-up

A large-scale sporting event such as the Week of Hockey Stars would be impossible to organize without the joint efforts of a great many people, most of whom remained behind the scenes and therefore out of sight, but still made an invaluable contribution to the preparations and staging of the entire series of events. With great dedication and passion, 165 volunteers gave their time and effort and were much appreciated, while the media contingent numbered around 100 professionals, all devoted to helping the game reach a wider audience.

For the various ceremonies held in Ufa it was necessary to bring in 1.5 tons of props and about 14 kilometers of network cable, which is enough to run the entire length of Prospekt Salavat Yulaev, the city’s famous avenue, and back again. In preparation for the event, the Ufa Arena had to be fitted with a new media-cube, a new sound system and new stage lights, and is now the first arena to provide free Wi-Fi for spectators. This might become the event’s most significant legacy for the stadium and the fans who will use it in the future. The amount of data transmitted via the spectators’ Wi-Fi network reached 160Gb.

The organizers made a tremendous effort to ensure that none of the supporters who came to the Republic of Bashkortostan for the Week of Hockey Stars would go home empty-handed. For example, KHL licensee Panini gave out 800 free albums and 500 free stickers from their new KHL Season 2016-17 collection. The fans also had the chance to buy from a vast array of licensed products, which are now being worn or displayed by thousands of hockey fans in numerous cities and countries all around the world.

KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko said of the event:

“The Week of Hockey Stars in Ufa surpassed all expectations in terms of the standard of organization and the level of audience interest. Together with the city authorities and the regional government, we have done all we can to ensure that tens of thousands of spectators and millions of TV viewers got a taste of big-time hockey. I would like to give special thanks to our partners, who made such an invaluable contribution to the creation of the festive hockey atmosphere, and to all the volunteers for their help, enthusiasm and dedication. Together we made a great team and we will always cherish the memory of this stellar week in Ufa.”

 

Turkish juniors write history

http://www.iihf.com/typo3temp/pics/67c2bb0148.jpg

By Alister McMurran – IIHF.com

Turkey won the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division III final 2-1 in front of an enthusiastic group of expats at the Dunedin Ice Stadium and will be promoted to Division II Group B next year.

When the clock ticked time the emotionally fired team on the rink threw their hats on to the ice and players on the bench rushed on to the ice to hug each other.

It was an emotional time for a Turkish team that played their hearts out, out-thought and outplayed their more fancied opponents.

It was a well thought out strategy by veteran American coach Keith McAdams who has lifted the performance of Turkish hockey since becoming the under-20 and under-18 head coach over two years ago.

“Turkey hasn’t won an under-20 medal in a long time so there was a lot of pressure on the players,” he said.

“It gives these players something to grow with when they reach the senior team. They are still young and can develop. We knew it would be hard to compete with China with all the ice and financial backing they have.

“I’m so happy for the boys. We played very well as a team. The guys have worked hard on the tactics we are using.”

McAdams plan began when he selected an under-18 team for the under-20 Division III that was held in Dunedin as well two years ago. The same team also played in the under-18 tournament at Auckland the same year.

They were an experienced group when they came back to Dunedin this year. The players all bought into the plan and it worked.

The game plan was simple. They had to shut down the neutral zone and stop the breaks that China likes to make in that part of the rink.

It meant man-on-man marking and putting pressure on the Chinese players. It worked because the Chinese team became frustrated and rattled at not being allowed to play its own game.

Turkey was especially good at competing for the puck when it went behind the net and by making it difficult for China to get out of the tight corners.

They did not give China the freedom and open space it had enjoyed in other games during the tournament.

The first period was tight but U.S.-based forward Hakan Salt scored with just over a minute left to give Turkey a 1-0 lead.

That was the crucial play of the game. It gave the Turkish players the belief that they could win and it put doubts into the minds of the Chinese team.

The margin was extended to two goals after 10 minutes in the second period when the Chinese defence failed to clear the puck away from the front of their goal and Yusuf Kars scored from a rebound.

The margin was reduced when Ou Li scored China’s only goal five minutes later. Turkey’s defence was solid as a rock and no goals were scored in the third period.

The best Turkish player in the final and throughout the whole championships was aggressive forward Omer Kars. The forward from Erzurum is also a member of the Turkish senior squad.

Others to impress for Turkey throughout the week were Hakan Salt, who scored seven goals, and Yusuf Kars, who was named best defenceman of the tournament.

McAdams has coached in Turkey for the last seven years with the Erzurum BBSK teams. They have won eight national titles.

Twelve members of the 20-man strong Turkish under-20 team play for the club.

Erzurum, a city of 600,000 in Eastern Turkey, has four ice rinks thanks to the 2011 Winter Universiade but only one can be used for ice hockey.

“Most of the team have played for me and they know the systems,” McAdams said. “We have been able to build on this over the last three seasons.”

Turkey finished sixth last year but has made a significant improvement over the last 12 months. What made the difference?

“We had a young team at first and our players have gained a lot of experience of international hockey over the last two years,” the coach explained.

“Two years ago we won the under-18 Division III Group B tournament at Auckland and last year we finished second with the under-18 team in the Division III Group A in Bulgaria.

“It was the first time, in any age group, that Turkey has ever won any game when moving up to a higher level.”

The Turkish U20 team reached 35th place overall this season, its highest placing in the new millennium.

Turkey’s biggest advantage was continuity. Only three players of its squad had not played in the team that came to New Zealand two years ago.

McAdams knew it would be difficult for Turkey to continue its unbeaten tournament record in the semi-finals and final. Turkey had beaten New Zealand, 6-4, Bulgaria, 8-1, and South Africa, 6-0, in the group stage. The Turks beat Iceland 3-2 in the semi-finals coming back from a two-goal deficit with three unanswered third-period goals.

“The goal is always to win but I would have been happy as long as we played well and did our best,” he said.

There are 24 indoor ice rinks in Turkey and they are spread over five cities. There are just fewer than 1,100 ice hockey players in Turkey and 576 of them are juniors. But only 22 of them are good enough to make the under-20 team.

“We need more hockey players in Turkey,” McAdams said. “Until the government comes up with a supportive plan it’s always going to be hard.”

Most of the team did not start playing ice hockey until they were aged 14.

“It took five years with me before they became really good players,” McAdams said. “Erzurum BBSK never had a team until I started coaching there.

“They have come a long way and every Erzurum player, boys and girls, has made the national team. That is what I am most happy about. I like the players to develop as people and be able to get a university education.”

This was the second time McAdams has coached a Turkish team at a World Championships in Dunedin in the south of New Zealand.

“Dunedin is a great city and I’m impressed by everything you guys do. Everything is done professionally. I’m impressed with the work the volunteers do. It would be impossible to do this in Turkey.”

China

China won the gold medal in Dunedin two years ago but was not able to stay in the higher grade.

But with new Russian Coach Alexander Barkov on board as head coach China started as favourite.

This favouritism was confirmed in the early rounds when China demonstrated that it was able to lift the power of its games to win tight games.

China reached its pinnacle when it thrashed home team New Zealand 11-2 in the semi-finals.

In that game China sparked into life from the start and scored three goals in the first six minutes and ended the first period with a four goal cushion.

New Zealand, as expected, fought back in the second period but China then romped home by scoring six more goals in the third period.

If China had repeated that form 24 hours later it was difficult to see it losing.

Turkey shut down China’s ability to make breaks through the neutral zone and China had no answer.

The best Chinese player was its captain Rudi Ying who plays for Kunlun Red Star in the Kontinental Hockey League. Ying scored the most goals in the week-long championship with nine and was the scoring leader with 19 points. He was named as the best forward by the directorate.

The other noted forward was Ou Li, who was second on the leaders scoring table with 10 points and scored six goals.

Other Chinese players to impress during the championship were forward Zemin Deng and defenders Pengfei Zhang and Haolin Nie.

Iceland

Everything worked for Iceland when it beat New Zealand 10-0 in the bronze medal game.

It outplayed the hosts in all departments with its speed on skates and its ability to use the width of the rink to create gaps in the defence.

It was particularly skilled in the battle for the puck behind the net and in the corners.

Iceland tested New Zealand in the first period and then displayed complete dominance in the second period to score five goals.

Latvian-born team captain Edmunds Induss, who is in his fifth season in the top senior league in Iceland, was playing dynamically with his speed with the puck down the centre of the rink. He used his skill to score the fourth goal that went between the legs of the goalie.

The fifth goal, scored by Elvar Olafsson, was all class. It came from a back pass to the trailing man who had a better angle to shoot the goal.

The well drilled Icelandic team continued its dominance in the final period and added five more goals. They were able to jam the New Zealand defence into the neutral zone to open up scoring opportunities.

Iceland demonstrated its dominance when its second line scored three goals against a withering New Zealand defence in the final period. It kept peppering the New Zealand net and its dominance was demonstrated by having 59 shots at goal compared to 20 by New Zealand.

Iceland was heading for the gold medal game when it led Turkey 2-0 at the end of the second period in the semi-final. But it conceded three goals in the last period to lose 3-2.

“We made a good effort but it was not our lucky day,” head coach Magnus Blarand said. “We did a lot of good things today but the final result was a big disappointment to us.”

Iceland led 1-0 after the first period but Turkey had the momentum for 10 minutes in the second period and only good defending kept Iceland’s goal intact.

A goal in the last minute by Vignir Arason gave Iceland a 2-0 lead and an upset was on the cards.

It was a frustrating time for Iceland supporters when Turkey stormed back in the third period to score three goals.

Fatih Faner, a member of the Turkish senior squad, used his experience to hit the winning puck with 3:20 left in the game.

The best player for Iceland in the game was goalie Maksymilian Mojzyszek, who made 25 saves and conceded three goals.

Iceland showed its best game in the 4-1 group-stage loss to China. The score was 1-1 after two periods but China held its structure and scored three goals in the final period.

“China thought they would beat us easily but we showed fight and dominated. It showed that Iceland hockey is on the move,” coach Blarand said.

Iceland’s best players in the tournament were goaltenders Arnar Hjaltested and Maksymilian Mojzyszek, defencemen Sigurdur Thorsteinsson and Jon Arnason, and forwards Edmunds Induss and Hjalti Johannsson.

Mojzyszek saved 89 shots and conceded only eight goals.

New Zealand

New Zealand struck China in vintage form in the semi-finals and lost 11-2. It was a big occasion for the young team in front of their home supporters and they froze in the first period when China raced to a 4-0 lead.

New Zealand got its ice legs back in the second period and played with more urgency and put their bodies on the line.

Goalie James Moore let in three early goals in the first six minutes and was replaced by Taylor Goodall, who let in only one goal to the end of the second period when New Zealand out-scored China 2-1.

But the wheels fell off in the third period when China scored six more goals. The best player for China was captain Rudi Ying who scored four goals.

New Zealand finished runner-up in 2015 and third last year. But assistant coach Matthew Sandford knew that it would be a re-building year with only six members of last year’s squad returning.

“It was a good tournament for us to get this far with so many rookies in the team,” Sandford said. “To reach the top four was a bonus.”

Sandford was pleased with the second-period effort against China.

“The boys went hard and came out with a lot of pride,” Sandford said. “But the skill of the Chinese team broke our resistance in the third period. It was tough.”

Sandford could hear the noise and praised the partisan crowd for its support.

New Zealand started nervously in its home patch and lost its first game to Turkey 6-4.

But the performances got better as the tournament progressed and experienced Robin Vortanov kept his cool to score late goals to give the Kiwi’s a 3-2 win over South Africa and a 5-4 margin against Bulgaria to progress to the semi-finals.

“The chips were down but the boys never gave up,” Sandford said. “It was a good fight in both those games.”

New Zealand had six players returning from 2016 when it finished third and Vortanov, captain Mason Kennedy, Logan Fraser, Ben Harford and Taylor Rooney displayed composure under pressure and stood up when it counted.

Rooney, who finished fourth equal on the goal scoring table, was named the Kiwi’s best player of the tournament and the best new boy was Shaun Brown, who plays for the Canterbury Red Devils national league team.

Israel

Israel finished fourth last year and the team was disappointed not to be in medal contention after the three round-robin games.

It needed to beat China in its last game to reach the semi-finals. It was outplayed in the first period and was down 3-0 at the break. But it fought back after that to only trail by two shots, 6-4, at the end.

It came back strongly in its last two games to beat South Africa 9-0 and narrowly beat Bulgaria 3-2 to finish fifth.

Israel held a 2-0 lead after two periods and added a third goal early in the third period.

But Bulgaria was a team that never gave up and scored two quick goals in the 56th minute by Veselin Dikov and Yanaki Gatchev to give Israel a tense last four minutes.

The star player in this game was goal keeper Raz Werner, who stopped 35 of the 37 Bulgaria shots at goal. Bulgarian keeper Dimitar Dimitrov stopped 19 of Israel’s 22 shots.

Werner, named the top goal keeper by the directorate, saved 141 goals and conceded only 11.

This was only the third time that Israel had competed at the under-20 championships. With only three players returning from last year it suffered by a lack of experience at crucial times.

The big problem for the development of Israeli hockey is that 18-year-olds are drafted into the army for two years and eight months and only a few return to the sport after their military service.

The best players for Israel at the championships were overseas based players Dan Hoffman, Tom Ignatovich, Ariel Kapulkin, Raz Werner, and Denis Kozev and Mark Revniaga who have had experience in the United States.

Others to impress were Ori Kafri, who plays for the Israeli senior team, and promising newcomer Itay Mostovoy.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria finished runner-up to home team Mexico last year when beaten 3-0 in the crunch game.

“We hit the post so often and their goalie made some crazy saves,” Bulgarian captain Tomislav Georgiev said. “I thought we could win it this year because we had six of our players back.”

They began confidently this year with a 5-2 win against South Africa but then slumped to a big 8-1 loss to Turkey.

The crunch final game in section play was won by New Zealand 5-4 when the Kiwis scored two late goals. The last by Robin Vortanov on a power play snuffed out Bulgaria’s medal chances.

It beat Chinese Taipei 6-1 in the first placement game but lost was beaten 3-2 by Israel in the game for fifth place.

Its best players were goaltender Dimitar Dimitrov, who made 41 saves in the 5-4 loss to New Zealand, Daniel Dilkov, Tomislav Georgeiev, Miroslav Vasilev and assistant captain Yanaki Gatchev.

Bulgaria has been a member of the IIHF since 1960 but the sport does not have lot money and has just three indoor and five outdoor rinks for its 760 players.

The country’s strength is with its 575 junior players and it could build its future on this.

South Africa & Chinese Taipei

South Africa and Chinese Taipei were always were seeded at the bottom and ended up in the game for seventh place.

Both countries need international competition and that’s what they got. Originally seeded as the only teams in the Division III Group B, the organizer managed to accommodate to add the teams and make the Division III an eight-team event.

Chinese Taipei coach Ryan Lang was happy that it worked out so the team could get the experience of playing games against five different teams.

Canadian Lang played junior hockey in Canada and the United States and was a professional in the Australian Ice Hockey League. He has been coaching for the last 12 years and has been involved with a club side on the island of Taiwan and with the national side for the last three years.

This was the first tournament that the Chinese Taipei under-20 team has played in the last six years and it has been a big boost to the morale of hockey in the country.

“We were excited to get back,” Lang said. “It was a huge bonus for us to be here.”

For the first time Chinese Taipei will compete in four World Championship categories with the under-18, under-20 and senior men’s teams and the women’s team.

They finished the championship on a high note with a comfortable 7-1 win against South Africa to claim seventh place.

Their best players were goalie Sheng-Chun Huang, who made 34 saves in the 3-0 loss to Israel, forward Po-Jui Huang and assistant captain Wei Chiang.

South Africa did not win any games when it finished last in the seven-team competition in 2016. It finished eighth this year when beaten by Chinese Taipei.

It expected to be demoted to the lower grade but received a reprieve when two extra teams were added to the competition this year.

South Africa’s best game was the narrow 3-2 loss to New Zealand in its second game when the Kiwis scored a late goal to win the game.

Goalie Ryan Boyd was the hero in that game and stopped 38 goals. The other goalie to excel was Aslam Khan, who made 49 saves in the 6-0 loss to Turkey.

The other standout player was defender John Venter.

South African coach Marc Giot said that his aim was to secure a spot in the competition for next year.

“We wanted to do well but we had to be realistic at the same time,” he said.

“Ice hockey is an expensive sport and we only have seven indoor rinks in the country. We have to pick our teams from a small pool of players. Our competitive level is not as high as in other countries we come up against.

“With so few rinks our players have to travel long distances to get to rinks to train and it is difficult to get enough ice time to progress our skills.”

Nepal Ice Hockey Getting Ready

By National Teams of Ice Hockey

Lok Bahadur Shahi Chairperson of Nepal Ice Hockey Federation  laid out what the federation plans to in 2016-2017

These are the Various Activities Carried  on by Nepal Ice Hockey Federation

• THEY ARE ACTIVELY DOING THE RESEARCH ON THE POSSIBILITIES OF ICE HOCKEY IN NEPAL.

• THE FIRST STAGE OF RESEARCH HAS BEEN COMPLETED REGARDING THE FORMATION OF ICE HOCKEY RINK IN NEPAL.

• NEPAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION IS COMPLYING WITH THE PLANS AND POLICIES OF INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION.

On March 10, 2016 a Member of  Nepal Ice Hockey Federation Mr Keshav Kumar Bist visited the Headquarters of the International Ice Hockey Federation and had a serious Conversation with the team of experts about making  an ice hockey rink in Nepal.

Mr Keshav Kumar Bist also requested  for financial Support to be Provided by the federation for building the rink.

In October 22, 2016 the Treasurer of the International Ice Hockey Federation and the member of France ice hockey made a Visit to Nepal and made stop overs  at the two Proposed locations for the ice hockey rink in Dhulikhe and Pokhara.
They also made an  agreement to help prepare the design of the Proposed ice hockey rink and future programs and plans of Nepal Ice Hockey Federation

Later in May 2017,  with the Joint collaboration of Russian ice hockey many of the Nepal’s junior players were given an opportunity to watch live ice hockey games to Prepare them for Preliminary Training

2017 Agenda

• TO PREPARE THE DESIGN FOR ICE HOCKEY RINK.

• TO PREPARE THE TECHNICAL MANPOWER NEPAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION. WILL BE SENDING A TEAM TO FINLAND FOR TRAINING LATER IN JULY 2017.

• TO PARTICIPATE IN WORLD ICE HOCKEY FORUM MEMBERS WILL BE FLYING TO MOSCOW IN DECEMBER 2017 .

• PROGRAMS TO RECEIVE THE WIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF NEPALESE HOCKEY FANS LIVING ABROAD.(MOSTLY NON RESIDENTIAL NEPALESE)

• ASKING FOR THE FINANCIAL COOPERATION TO VARIOUS ORGANIZATION TO PREPARE THE ICE HOCKEY RINK.

• TO MAKE THE MANAGEMENT FOR EFFECTIVE AND STRONG.

Henrik Sedin scores 1,000th NHL point

http://storage.torontosun.com/v1/dynamic_resize/sws_path/suns-prod-images/1297919007306_ORIGINAL.jpg?quality=80&size=420x

By Kevin Woodley – NHL.com

Henrik Sedin did his best to downplay the milestone all week, but when the Vancouver Canucks captain saw teammates jumping off the bench to celebrate his 1,000th NHL point at Rogers Arena on Friday, it was hard to hold back the emotion.

Sedin scored 5:50 into the second period of a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers to become the first player to reach 1,000 playing for the Canucks.

“When I saw my teammates come on the ice I lost it a little,” Henrik said. “It was very special. If I retired today, I think that was the most memorable moment for me as a player.”

Sedin is the 85th player to score 1,000 NHL points, the 38th to do it with one franchise, and the fourth who was born in Sweden.

The milestone goal came on a pass from twin brother, Daniel Sedin, who sent Henrik in alone in tight for a backhand deke between the legs of former teammate and good friend Roberto Luongo. The Canucks bench emptied to celebrate in the corner to Luongo’s left, and the Panthers goalie came out of his crease with congratulations for Henrik as he skated back to the bench.

“I didn’t know how to feel,” said Luongo, who played eight seasons in Vancouver. “Obviously I was happy for Hank but not too happy for myself that I let that in. Well-deserved on his part.”

The play started with a breakout pass from Alexander Edler, a Swede who has played with the Sedins since 2006, longer than anyone except Alexandre Burrows on the Canucks roster.

“I don’t know if you can really envision it,” Henrik said. “Everything was good about it. We got a big win. It was nice [Edler] and Danny had the helpers. They’ve played for a long time and are two good friends. That was special. I think the best part by far was my teammates coming out on the ice and celebrating with me. That’s something I will remember forever.”

Play was halted as the crowd at Rogers Arena gave Henrik a standing ovation while he remained alone on the ice in front of the Vancouver bench, saluting the fans with waves and clapping his hands above his head. A video tribute was played during the next break in action, highlighting some of the biggest moments since the Canucks selected him No. 3 in the 1999 NHL Draft, one pick after Daniel.

“Very special to do it on home ice in front of our fans,” Henrik said. “It just couldn’t be better.”

Sedin has 233 goals and 767 assists in 1,213 games in 16 seasons in the NHL, all with Vancouver. The 36-year-old center has 11 goals and 19 assists this season. He didn’t get an assist on Luca Sbisa‘s winning goal early in the third period but he started the play that led to it.

“That’s the stuff dreams are made of,” Sbisa said of the milestone. “That’s what I dream about when I go to bed. Maybe in my next life I’ll get 1,000 points. It’s special to be a part of this. He’s a guy most of us have been watching since we were kids. It was nice to be out there with him on the ice.”

Mats Sundin (1,349), Daniel Alfredsson (1,157) and Nicklas Lidstrom (1,142) are the other Sweden-born players with 1,000 NHL points.

Sedin had an NHL career-high 112 points (29 goals, 83 assists) in the 2009-10 season, when he won the Hart and Art Ross trophies. He led the NHL in assists three consecutive seasons (2009-10 through 2011-12) and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

The Sedins and Luongo helped the Canucks advance to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which they lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games.

“He’s played a long time with good teammates,” Daniel said of Henrik. “I think he’s very proud.”

 

Older posts