Jaden Lindo adds new chapter to ‘Soul on Ice’ by winning hockey championship

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Forward Jaden Lindo keeps adding pages to the script.

Queens University forward Jaden Lindo.

Lindo, a main subject in award-winning filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason’s “Soul on Ice, Past, Present & Future” black hockey history documentary, helped power Canada’s Queens University to the Ontario University Athletics championship Saturday.

Lindo, a 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins sixth round draft pick, scored two goals for the Queens University Gaels in their 4-1 win over the University of Guelph Gryphons.

“Actually, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in my whole hockey career,” Lindo, 23, said Monday. “It’s been a long time since I’ve won a championship. The last time was minor hockey. Before I committed to Queens I told my coach I wanted to compete for a championship. And to do it in front of our home fans, it was an unbelievable experience.”

The victory gave the Gaels their first Queen’s Cup title since 1981 and Lindo was named Most Valuable Player of the championship game.

“I didn’t even know they gave out an MVP for the game,” he said. “Our speakers weren’t working too well, I couldn’t hear what they were saying and all the guys were calling my name and I was, like, ‘Oh, okay.’ I just skated up, and it was amazing.”

Forward Jaden Lindo and his Queens University teammates celebrate winning the Ontario University Athletics championship on Saturday (Photo/Courtesy Jaden Lindo).

The Gaels now compete for Canada’s U Sports national championship in a tournament that starts Thursday in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

For the “Soul on Ice” documentary, Mason followed Lindo, then a forward for the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack, through the high of awaiting the 2014 National Hockey League Draft and the low of suffering a severe season-ending knee injury that jeopardized his draft prospects.

The 2018-19 Queens University Gaels. The team won the Ontario University Athletics championship Saturday. Forward Jaden Lindo was the game’s MVP.

The dramatic arc in the film ends with the Penguins taking the injured Lindo in the sixth round with the 173rd overall pick in the draft.

But things didn’t work out, and Lindo and the Penguins parted ways. He was traded by Owen Sound to the Sarnia Sting in 2016-17. He scored 35 points (21 goals, 14 assists) in 58 regular season games with the OHL team.

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He joined the Queens University team in 2017-18 and scored 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 21 regular season games. He had 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 12 regular season games but he came up big in the playoffs with 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists). He missed three months of the season recovering from a concussion.

“I was pretty upset when things didn’t happen the way as planned with Pittsburgh,” he said. “I didn’t believe it was all over. Playing in the NHL is my goal and has always been my dream. I’m at Queens right now, it’s a great program and I’m maturing as a young man. I’m happy where I’m at and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

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Sarah Nurse seeks gold at IIHF world championship after winning Olympic silver

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Sarah Nurse owns a Silver Medal won at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Now she’s mining for gold.

Nurse, a forward for Toronto Furies of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, was named to Team Canada for the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship April 4-14 in Espoo, Finland.

Sarah Nurse played for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics and will represent her country for the first time at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Finland next month (Photo/Hockey Canada).

The tournament will be Nurse’s IIHF world championship debut but she’ll be in some familiar company. Fifteen other players from Canada’s 2018 Winter Olympic squad will join her in Finland.

“The players we have selected have had success at various levels of their careers, both nationally and internationally, and we’re excited to get started in Finland,” Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, said.

Canada is seeking its 11th gold medal but its first since 2012. And Nurse has the goal-scoring skill to help them do it.

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Nurse has emerged as a star for the Furies in her CWHL rookie season. She scored 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 26 regular season games. She has one post-season goal so far for the Furies.

Nurse comes from a highly competitive sports family. Her brother, Isaac Nurse, is a forward for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League. The siblings are cousins of Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and New York Liberty basketball point guard  Kia Nurse, who represented Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

The jersey that Canadian forward Sarah Nurse wore and the stick that defender Brigette Lacquette used at the 2018 Winter Olympics are in the Hockey Hall of Fame (Photo/Phil Pritchard/HHOF)

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Hockey Family Photo Album, Page 2

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The pictures and stories of hockey players of color just keep on coming, proving that these folks aren’t unicorns. Minorities in the game are plentiful, visible and here to stay. Here’s Page Two of your Hockey Family Photo Album.

Jazmin Malinowski, a goaltender for McKendree University in Illinois, playing for the United States in March at the 2019 Winter World University Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia (Photo/Courtesy Erin Malinowski).

“Jazmin declared that she would be a goalie when she was 2 years old, played her first game at 5, plays for McKendree University and is currently at the World University Games on Team USA,” mom Erin Malinowski wrote (Photo/Courtesy Erin Malinowski).

Isiah Saville, left, is a goalie for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. He helped guide Team USA the 2018 World Junior A Challenge championship in Alberta in December. He’s the USHL’s top goaltender and is ranked the eighth-best 2019 draft-eligible North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting (Photo/Courtesy Isaiah Saville).

Players from Detroit’s Clark Park outdoor skating rink and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, center (Photo/Courtesy Al LaBarrie).

Joel “Chef Jojo” Thomas, left, Donnie “DJ” Shaw, center, and Robert “Dodger” Stuckey at Fort Dupont Ice Arena Marathon Hockey Game fundraiser for the rink (Photo/Courtesy Joel “Chef Jojo” Thomas).

Jackson Kuls, 13, defense, New York City Cyclones. “He learned to play hockey with Ice Hockey in Harlem where he learned about the game and the legacy of black players,” Joycelyn Kuls wrote. “At 5’10’’ 190 lbs, his nickname is Buff after his favorite player, Dustin Byfuglien.”

Chloe Brinson, defense. (Photo/Via Black Girl Hockey Club).

Craiden Jones, 11, Atlanta, Georgia. “Craiden fell in love with the sport after seeing kids playing hockey in the former Atlanta Thrashers practice facility in Duluth Ga.,” dad Craig Jones wrote. “Craiden began taking skating lessons at 6 years old and eventually earned a spot on the Duluth Phoenix All-Star team in his first season in 2015. Craiden’s love and passion for hockey continues to grow and currently plays for the Atlanta Kings travel team.” (Photo/Courtesy Craig Jones).

Russell Jean-Pierre. “Russell is an offensive defensemen who plays for the Ottawa Sting team in Canada,” mom Katie Russell wrote. “His team has had a successful year and currently fighting for the gold title in their league! (Photo/Courtesy Katie Russell).

Elijah Bryan, left, Oliver King and Michael Holland. “They have been hockey ‘brothers’ for years,” mother Michelle King wrote. “Sometimes they play together, sometimes on different teams. Michael and Elijah play high school hockey together at Newton North High School in Newton, Ma. Oliver plays prep school hockey at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Ma. (Photo/Courtesy Michelle King).

Arvin Atwal, defense, Cincinnati Cyclones,ECHL (Photo/Courtesy Cincinnati Cyclones).

Isaac Kaczmarowski. “We live in Wausau, Wis., and Isaac has skated since he was 4,” dad Tim Kaczmarowski wrote. “(He’s) 13 now and this was his first year of bantams. The medal pictures are from this year’s Badger State Games Bantam B tournament where they lost in the championship game after sudden death and a shootout (heartbreaker).” (Photo/Courtesy Tim Kaczmarowski).

Ross Mitton, forward for the USHL’s Lincoln Stars. He’s committed to play for Northeastern University next season (Photo/Courtesy Ross Mitton).

Grant Thomas Powers, 10, Rochester Youth Hockey Americans (Photo/Courtesy Phillippa Powers).

The NextGEN AAA Foundation team that played in the 2018 Chowder Cup in suburban Boston (Photo/Courtesy Dee Dee Ricks).

 

National Capital Hockey Tournament Director John F. Cotten (right) and Gonzaga College High School goaltender Jalen Greene at the 2018 MAPHL Championship game (Photo/Courtesy John F. Cotten).

Jason Payne, assistant coach,Cincinnati Cyclones,ECHL (Photo/Courtesy Cincinnati Cyclones).

Kyson Yarbrough, 10. (Photo/Courtesy Tracy Ames).

Grayson and Julian Badger share a moment in the penalty box in 2012 (Photo Courtesy Al Badger).

Grayson Badger playing high school hockey last season in Massachusetts (Photo/Courtesy Al Badger).

Derek Arledge, coaching and conferring with referees at a Maryland youth hockey game (Photo/Courtesy Derek Arledge).

Nigel Wilson-Phillippi, 8. “We live in Maryland, but he plays for the Delaware Patriots White Mite A team in Newark, DE and the Tucker Road Ducks in Prince George’s County, Maryland,” mom Cheri Wilson wrote. “He wore #25 this year for Devante Smith-Pelly, who is now #23 on the Hershey Bears (Photo/Courtesy Cheri Wilson).

Devon Ledford, Baltimore (Photo/Courtesy Devon Ledford).

Jaxson Brown, 15 of Charlotte, North Carolina. Bantam AA Carolina Rage. (Photo/Courtesy Eurnestine Brown)

The 1995 Can-Am champion Detroit Rockies (Photo/Courtesy Joe Doughrity).

Blake Donovan (Photo/Courtesy Regina Donovan).

Cameron Murray of Avon Youth Hockey Pee Wee/Squirt In House Team. “Hockey is the sport that accepts all, no matter what,” mom Deb Murray wrote.

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Hockey’s diversity in pictures from pee wee to the professional leagues

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Black History Month showed how far hockey has come in terms of diversity and inclusion and how much further it has to go.

The contributions of black players were chronicled aboard the National Hockey League’s American Legacy Black Hockey History bus, a mobile museum that toured eight cities as part of the league’s Black History Month celebration.

Women of color enjoyed attending games together in New York, Nashville and Brooklyn last month as part of the Black Girl Hockey Club, a sisterhood that keeps growing after each event.

Willie O’Ree continued to be showered with the accolades that he deserves as the NHL’s first black player and the godfather of a generation of minority players and fans through the league’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative.

O’Ree, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, was feted at the Canadian Embassy in Washington last month. There, attending members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced that they’re introducing a bill to award O’Ree the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.

But February’s hockey highs shared headlines with a low when some people – let’s not call them fans – racially taunted black forward  Jonathan Diaby, a 2013 Nashville Predators third-round draft pick, and his family at a semi-professional Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey game in Quebec.

Some of the spectators in the arena acted as if they had never seen a hockey player of color before, a sad reaction considering that minorities are part of the game’s past, present and future.

So I asked Color of Hockey readers to send pictures to show just how entrenched we are in the game. And, boy, you responded big time – from pee wee players to pros. Thank you all for sharing your photos, your stories, and your love of the game.

Consider this a Hockey Family Photo Album. There will be a Page 2 with more photos in the coming days. People who sent pictures without information like the names of the people in the shots, please send them again to colorofhockey@gmail.com with the relevant information.

Kendall Day. left. and Dmitri Williams, Columbus Ice Hockey Club (Photo/Courtesy of Deneen Day).

Reilly Love, Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. “I played elite hockey growing in NY. I still play men’s league in the Philly area,” father Julian Love said in an email. “Sometimes I felt like I was the only one of color playing hockey.” (Photo/Courtesy Julian Love).

Hockey is a generational thing in Trazana (Brown) Powell’s family. “So my dad, Carl Brown, 67 YEARS YOUNG. plays hockey twice a week with the Quincy Bald Eagles and a pick up league of older guys,” Powell wrote via email. “Born In Jamaica but when he got to the States he fell in love with hockey!  Taught himself to skate and never stopped.”

Carl Brown getting ready to skate with the Quincy Bald Eagles (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).

“FAST FORWARD to the birth of me!” Powell continued. “My dad put (me) on skates at 1, started hockey at 10, excelled. Played on numerous teams mainly with boys, played in high school (varsity) played at Northeastern University and now Coach! Which I believe is my passion! Even til this day I am known in my town as “that black girl that played hockey”

Trazana (Brown) Powell playing for Northeastern University (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).

“My oldest son, Cameron Powell,age 10, started hockey about 2 years ago
and I’m so proud of his determination and love for the family game,” Powell wrote. “He plays on two teams, The Southeast Cyclones and with Score Boston Hockey. Last year he had the opportunity to meet Willie O’Ree and its a day he still talks about today.”

Cameron Powell (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).

Twins Cree and Chloe Powell, 5. Cree plays hockey. Chloe “hasn’t gotten the hockey bug yet but stay tuned!!!” her mother said (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).

Desmond Allman “is all hockey, all the time,” dad Marc Allman wrote. “It’s not easy being a black hockey player in a mostly white sport (with white parents on top of that), but Des thrives. He got his first N word thrown his way in a tournament a few weeks ago, but he continues to march on” (Photo/Courtesy Marc Allman).

Kevin Horton, left, and his buddy, Brad. “We do that hockey,” Horton said in an email. Photo/Courtesy Kevin Horton).

Adrien Bray sent a photo “From my first year of beer league (The Beerwings of Detroit,MI),” she wrote. “We won our first tournament… I was the only woman and my friend and I were the only black folk. ” (Photo/Courtesy Adrien Bray).

Adrien Bray and her Beerwings teammates (Photo.Courtesy Adrien Bray).

Washington Blind Hockey Club player Tyrese Springer. He is visually impaired due to albinism. (Photo/Courtesy Washington Blind Hockey Club).

Washington Blind Hockey Club player Tyrese Springer in action (Photo/Courtesy Washington Blind Hockey Club).

Courtney Szto plays for the Hatchicks in Vancouver (Photo/Courtesy Courtney Szto).

Mark Fraser, a former NHL defenseman who’s now playing for HKM Zvolen in Slovakia, sent this via Twitter:

Roman Ephron, 8, of Houston Texas. He began hockey through the Dallas Stars’ Learn to Play program in 2015. “He began skating in 2014 and fell in love with ice skating,” mother Bea Ephron wrote “There is no place he’d rather be.” (Photo/Courtesy Bea Ephron).

Donna Zephrine, Long Island Rough Riders sled hockey (Photo/Courtesy Donna Zephrine).

Leah Frazier from Odenton, Maryland. “The tutu is for Halloween,” she wrote. (Photo/Courtesy Leah Frazier).

Nathan King, goaltender, St. Mary’s Catholic Central High School in Ohio. I” was born in Accra, Ghana my family moved to the United States when I was 3 and I started skating at around 7,” he wrote. “I’m 17 now and have been playing goalie ever since I started.” (Photo/Courtesy Nathan King).

Max Nguyen of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Mom Lydia Nguyen said Max is “1/2 Vietnamese 1/4 Japanese” and is one of 8 players of color on his team (Photo/Courtesy Lydia Nguyen).

Nate Mitton, forward, for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. “I grew up outside of Toronto, my mom moved to Canada from Jamaica with my grandmother,” Mitton wrote. “My dad put me and my brother in hockey and it’s been my passion ever since. I am very proud to be a black hockey player I remember when I was little my dad got me a Willie O’Ree collectors hockey card. My dream is to inspire other kids to chase their dreams.” (Photo/Courtesy Nate Mitton/Tony Bailey Photography).

Rachel Woods and Erica Melcher (Photo/Courtesy Rachel Woods).

Erica Melcher getting down to business on the ice (Photo/Courtesy Erica Melcher).

From a little boy in New York to a grown man living in Amsterdam, hockey has always been a part of Ted Iglesias’s life.

A young Theodore Iglesias (Photo/Courtesy Theodore Iglesias).

“I am bi-racial, from Curaçao and southern Spain,” Iglesias wrote. “I am 49 and have been playing and skating since age 4. I am originally from the NY metro area and played in junior boarding school, prep school and college. I now coach skills here in Amsterdam with the Amsterdam Tigers organization.” (Photo/Courtesy Theodore Iglesias).

Isaiah Marquez-Greene and Arthur Smith. “There was a 2017 summer hockey tournament in Foxboro, Ma. Isaiah’s team was coming off the ice and Arthur’s summer team was about to play,” Alex Smith wrote. “The kids’ parents knew each other through goalie camps but had no idea they’d be on the same team a season later.” (Photo/Courtesy Alex Smith).

Isaiah Artis, 15, Lehigh Valley Phantoms Youth Hockey Organization. “He agreed to try hockey at the urging of our neighbors/friends we
used to go watch play,” proud mom Eunice Ofori Artis wrote. “He eventually went to “Try Hockey for Free Day”, and he was hooked.” (Photo/Courtesy Eunice Ofori Artis).

Rayla Wilkes, 6, serving as honorary captain for the Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League (Photo/Courtesy Amanda Wilkes).

Calvin Conway, Wasington, D.C., area. “He eats, sleeps and breathes hockey!” mother Joy Conway wrote. (Photo/Courtesy Joy Conway).

Zander Shank, 8, of Ohio “He has been obsessed with hockey since he was 3 years old!” mom Stephanie Mohr Shank wrote. ” We don’t really know where it comes from other than watching the Pittsburgh Penguins on TV. He LOVES hockey. Loves, loves, loves it.” (Photo/Courtesy Stephanie Mohr Shank.)

Eli Shank, 11, was inspired to play hockey by his younger brother, Zander (Photo/Courtesy Stephanie Mohr Shank).

Tarasai Karega, far right, with NCAA Division III hockey championship Trophy she won with Amherst College in 2009 (Photo/Courtesy Tarasai Karega).

Ayodele Adeniye, Carleton Place Canadians, a Junior A team in the Central Canada Hockey League. Adeniye is committed to play hockey for the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2020 (Photo/Courtesy Ayodele Adeniye).

Meet the Lowry brothers.

Jake Lowry. “They are half African -American and half Indian. We live in Summit NJ,” their mother, Camellia, wrote. “Jake Lowry #17 played Bantam Minor AAA for NJ Titans this past season. He also played for Summit Middle School. He’s been playing travel hockey since 1st grade and is now in 8th grade (Photo/Courtesy Camellia Redmerski)”

“Jordan Lowry #18 played Bantam Major AAA for NJ Titans this last season,” his mother wrote. “He also is on the Varsity and JV roster for Summit High School and is a freshman. He’s been playing travel hockey since 2nd grade (Photo/Camellia Redmerski).”

Rivington D. Jones (Photo/Courtesy R. Douglas Jones).

The Fort Dupont Cannons of Washington, D.C., 2018 (Photo/Courtesy AJ Messier/Hogtown Studios).

Maryland’s Tucker Road Ducks, 2017 (Photo/Courtesy Tucker Road Ducks).

The Tucker Road Ducks and the Banners of Baltimore, Maryland, 2019.

Ice Hockey in Harlem, 2016 (Photo/Courtesy Ice Hockey in Harlem).

Inner City Education program of Chicago. “We provide the children with equipment, coaching, practice twice a week, tutoring every time they come to practice and the opportunity to earn scholarships!” Coach Mark Giarelli wrote (Photo/Courtesy Mark Giarelli).

Brandon Romany of the Kitchener Dutchman (Photo/Courtesy Brian Romany).

Brandon’s father, power skating instructor Brian Romany laces up the skates (Photo/Courtesy Brian Romany).

Peyton Francis, right), who’ll play hockey for the University of Alabama-Huntsville next season, is a Carleton Place Canadians forward who also skates for the Jamaican national team initiative (Photo/Courtesy Mark Francis).

Isaiah Nokken, 12, of Spring Lake Park, Minnesota. Isaiah was born in Ethiopia and got involved in hockey through his cousins. “His grandfather was a high school hockey coach so has been around a lot of hockey watching and playing,” mom Kari Nokken wrote (Photo/Courtesy Kari Nokken).

Stay tuned for Page 2 of the Hockey Family Photo Album.

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Wayne Simmonds among players of color moved on NHL trading deadline day

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Forward Wayne Simmonds topped the list of players of color who were dealt to new National Hockey League teams prior to the close of Monday’s trade deadline.

 

Forward Wayne Simmonds sent to Nashville Predators.

Simmonds, long a leading scorer and key locker room presence for the Philadelphia Flyers, went to the Nashville Predators for forward Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth round draft pick.

 “I was extremely on edge, obviously, not knowing where the day would do or how it would unfold,” Simmonds told Canada’s TSN. “I went to the rink this morning for practice and then I was told I wouldn’t be practicing. I had a chance to say bye to the boys for the last time. It happened at the last minute of the deadline and I’m kind of overwhelmed right now.”

A hard-nosed player with scoring ability around the net, Simmonds was the Flyers seventh-leading scorer this season with 27 points – 16 goals and 11 assists in 62 games.

He notched 24 or more goals in all but one season season since the Flyers acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings in June 2011 along with forward Brayden Schenn and second-round draft pick for forward Mike Richards.

Simmonds played his last game as a Flyer outdoors Saturday night, a 4-3 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. An emotional Simmonds and Flyers teammates knew he would likely be dealt Monday.

At 30, Simmonds is in the final year of his contract and the Flyers reportedly were reluctant to sign him to a long-term deal. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer unless Nashville strikes a deal with him.

Monday’s trade reunites Simmonds with Nashville Coach Peter Laviolette, who was Philadelphia’s bench boss from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

Simmonds scored 32 goals in 2015-16 and 31 goals the following season. Most of those goals came on power plays when he would set up shop in front of the opposing goaltender and wait for deflections or rebounds.

Simmonds suffered a rash of injuries last season – a tear in his pelvic area, a fractured ankle, pulled groin, two mouth injuries, and a torn ligament in his right thumb. Still, he managed to score 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.

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The Anaheim Ducks swapped defenseman Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres for defenseman Brendan Guhle and a conditional 2019 first round draft pick. Montour, who grew up in the Six Nations community of Ohsweken in Canada, was Anaheim’s top-scoring defenseman.

Defenseman Brandon Montour dealt to Buffalo Sabres.

He tallied 25 points – 5 goals and 20 assists – in 62 games and logged the fourth-most ice time among Anaheim defenders at 22:40 minutes per game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs obtained forward Nicholas Baptiste from Nashville future considerations. Baptiste, a Buffalo 2013 third round draft pick, had been playing for the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s American Hockey League affiliate. Had 22 points – 12 goals and 10 assists – in 55 games with the Admirals.

The Florida Panthers acquired forward Cliff Pu from the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. Pu, a 2016 Buffalo third-round draft pick, had 1 goal and 5 assists for the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes AHL farm team.

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On Saturday, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded speedy forward Anthony Duclair  and second round picks in 2020 and 2021 to the Ottawa Senators for forward Ryan Dzingel. Duclair, a New York Rangers 2013 third round draft pick, had 11 goals and 8 assists in 53 games for Columbus this season.

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U of Penn ice rink to become Snider Hockey’s home after $7 million makeover

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PHILADELPHIA – Ed Snider won two Stanley Cups with the Philadelphia Flyers that he founded, launched a regional sports and entertainment cable network, and is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But it’s the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation that the late team owner said would be his legacy.

“It’s the only thing I’ve ever put my name on,” Snider told me in 2015. “We’re going to fund it properly and when I’m no longer around hopefully it will be a program that will go on forever.”

Philadelphia Flyers and Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation alumni faced-off at a charity game Friday at the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena (Photo/Bill McCay/Tournament Shooters).

Snider passed away in April 2016 at the age of 83. And, true to his word, the one thing that he named after himself is not only alive, it’s thriving.

So much so that Snider Hockey announced Friday that it will make the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena home for the youth hockey program that serves over 3,000 Philadelphia-area kids, many of them from under-resourced communities.

As part of the agreement with Penn, Snider Hockey is providing $7 million to help make upgrades and renovation to the aging arena. Once the work is completed – tentatively in October – Snider Hockey will expand its programs and operations at the arena located in West Philadelphia.

Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree (center) drops the puck before former Philadelphia Flyers Alumni forward Scott Hartnell and a Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation alum at a charity game at Penn’s Class of 1923 Arena Friday (Photo/Bill McCay/Tournament Shooters).

“Mr. Snider had a lasting impact on our lives, as well as the entire hockey community in Philadelphia,”  said Flyers Alumni Association President Brad Marsh said, who played with the team from 1981-82 to 1987-88. “This pledge was made as a way to honor Mr. Snider’s legacy and continue to grow the sport of hockey.

Snider Hockey, part of the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative, teaches the Philadelphia-area’s at-risk youth about the world of possibilities beyond their neighborhoods and life skills through the prism of hockey.

Ed Snider talks with Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation kid at the University of Pennsylvania Class of 1923 Arena in October 2005. Snider passed away Monday at age 83.

“We are delighted that Snider Hockey wanted to strengthen our longstanding relationship by choosing Penn’s ice rink to be its home,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said. “The Flyers and the Foundation’s investment in the rink will greatly improve the facility allowing it to sustain the program for many years to come.

Snider Hockey is contributing $4.3 million for the renovations;  the Flyers Alumni association is kicking in $2 million; the NHL Industry Growth Fund is donating $600,000 and Penn is adding $600,000.

“This is a great example of what can be done when organizations come together in support if their community,” Snider Hockey President Scott Tharp said. “Mr. Snider would be proud to have a truly great institution – the University of Pennsylvania – as a home for Snider Hockey.”

The University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Ice Arena will undergo a $7 million makeover and become the home of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (Photo/Courtesy the University of Pennsylvania).

And what better way to celebrate than with a hockey game?

The Flyers Alumni played a charity game against Snider Hockey alums at Class of 1923. Steady defensemen Jim and Joe Watson and other Flyers from the 1974 and 1975 Cup teams suited up for the game  with recent orange and black retirees  that included Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere,  goaltender Brian Boucher.

Many of the players from both squads felt at home at the arena Friday, with good reason. The Class of 1923 rink has hosted Snider Hockey since the organization’s creation in 2005. And it was the Flyers’ main practice rink from 1969 to 1983.

“The Class of 1923 Arena was part of my daily life when I first arrived with the Flyers, so coming back there for the Alumni Showdown and the announcement of the renovation plan with Snider Hockey is going to take me back to some old memories while we’re celebrating the facility’s future,” Marsh told the Flyers Alumni’s website.

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Joel Ward says he hasn’t retired from the National Hockey League

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Nope, not yet.

Former San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward says he hasn’t officially retired from the NHL, despite media reports.

Free agent right wing Joel Ward says he hasn’t officially retired from the National Hockey League, contrary to media reports Monday.

In fact, Ward, 38, says he’s still open to joining an NHL team, whether it’s a young club that might need a veteran’s presence or a playoff-bound squad in search of a proven Stanley Cup Playoffs performer.

“No, I haven’t officially retired,” Ward told me in an email Monday night. “I’m always open to catch on a team…internet I tell ya lol they hear one thing and they run with it!”

Media outlets like the NHL Network, CBS Sports and  scores of hockey websites reported that Ward had hung up his skates based on comments he made at the University of Prince Edward Island’s Men’s Hockey Alumni Day. Ward played for the Canadian college team from 2001-02 to 2004-05.

A tweet from Complete Hockey News, based on Ward’s comments at the alumni day event, said “Joel Ward considers himself officially retired from professional hockey.”

A CBC story on Ward’s UPEI visit says he is “wrapping his head around retirement.” The tweet and reports were enough to launch a flood of salutes and congratulations to Ward for hanging up his skates.

Ward hasn’t played in the NHL or any other pro league since he appeared in 52 games for the San Jose Sharks last season. He had a tryout with the Montreal Canadiens, but didn’t make the  team.

I met Ward at the 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Toronto in November and he said he was working out on and off the ice with the expectation of playing this season.

Ward has played 11 NHL seasons with the Sharks, Washington Capitals, Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators. He notched 133 goals and 171 assists in 726 regular season games and 22 goals and 30 assists in 83 playoff contests.

And counting?

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Southern comfort: Black Girl Hockey Club attends Predators, NWHL All-Star games

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NASHVILLE  – The Black Girl Hockey Club got a heaping helping of Southern hockey hospitality over the weekend.

The group of female hockey fans of color took in the Nashville Predators-St. Louis Blues matinee Sunday followed by the 2019 National Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban met with the Black Girl Hockey Club, which gathered for the Predators game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

The Preds and the NWHL gave BGHC members and supporters the ya’ll come treatment.  The Predators hosted a Saturday morning skating session for the group on Bridgestone Arena ice and showed Canadian filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason’s award-winning “Soul on Ice, Past, Present & Future” black hockey history documentary on the stadium’s Jumbotron.

BGHC members met Predators defenseman P.K. Subban after the Blues 5-4 win over Nashville. The game’s outcome didn’t diminish Subban’s graciousness in posing for pictures and chatting with the group.

The NWHL reserved a prime seating spot for BGHC at the All-Star game’s skills competition which was held Saturday at a packed Ford Ice Center, the Predators’ practice facility.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban talks with Black Girl Hockey Club member Eunice Artis while signing the T-shirt of her son, Isaiah Artis.

The women watched Buffalo Beauts defender Blake Bolden win the hardest shot contest by launching an 80-miles-per-hour slap shot. Bolden, the only black woman on the two NWHL All-Star squads, said she was pumped by the BGHC presence.

“It’s so great, I definitely noticed when my name was called you guys were hollering, it made me feel so good,” Bolden, who has 1 goal and 7 assists in 13 games with Buffalo this season, told the group after the competition. “I appreciate you guys so much being there.”

Blake Bolden, a defender with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts shares a moment with Black Girl Hockey Club member Rayla Wilkes, 6, at the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game skills competition Saturday in Nashville.

Nearly three dozen women of color, their families and friends, journeyed from California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Washington, D.C., and Georgia to attend the weekend festivities and bask in the soul sisterhood of hockey fandom.

The Black Girl Hockey Club was founded by Renee Hess, a Riverside, California, woman who sought to gather a critical mass of women of color who, like her, are interested in hockey but might be hesitant to attend games in stadiums where minority fans are truly a minority.

A dapper Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban signs autographs and poses for pictures with the Black Girl Hockey Club in Smashville Sunday afternoon.

“The whole reason I wanted to come to Nashville was to see the girls play,” Hess said of the NWHL players. “I’ve seen them on video, but never live, so this is really cool. They’re fast, they’re good, I got to see some (Olympic) gold medalists skate today, I mean that’s really awesome.”

Buffalo Beauts defender Blake Bolden, back, and members of the Black Girl Hockey Club after Bolden won the hardest shot competition at the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game festivities in Nashville.

Lisa Ramos drove nine hours from Biloxi, Mississippi, to join the BGHC meet-up in Nashville. She said the drive was no sweat since she and her husband sometimes drive to Canada see her son,  defenseman Ayodele Adeniye, play for the Carleton Place Canadians, a Junior A team in the Central Canada Hockey League.

Adeniye has committed to play hockey next season for the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, an NCAA Division I team in the  Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

“It’s been great getting together with other black female hockey fans and just enjoy the sport, talk about the sport, find out how they came to the sport of hockey – everybody came through different avenues,” Ramos said.

Eunice Artis and her teenage son, Isaiah Artis, said they “felt at home” attending the NWHL events and the Predators game. They ventured to Nashville from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

“It’s nice to see a lot of people of color enjoying hockey,” Eunice Artis said. “You go to hockey games, whether it’s my son playing or a professional games, and literally you’re the only person there or you’re one of two people there. I just feel there’s unity here and I feel at home. It was great seeing the women play, especially a professional woman of color (Bolden) bringing it home.”

Follow the Color of Hockey on Facebook and Twitter @ColorOfHockey. And download the Color of Hockey podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.

 

 

 

 

 

‘Chef Jojo,’ Willie, and the bobblehead hang out at a D.C. hockey charity game

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Sometimes pictures say it all, but we’ll take a few words anyway.

Joel “Chef Jojo” Thomas cherishes four things: Cooking, hockey, the Anaheim Ducks, and Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree.

Clad in a Ducks jersey and carrying a Willie O’Ree bobblehead, Thomas ventured to Washington’s Capital One Arena Wednesday night to watch the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge between a team of D.C. lobbyists and a squad of lawmakers and to meet his idol, O’Ree, who was the National Hockey League’s first black player.

Mission accomplished.

Joel “Chef Jojo” Thomas with Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree at Capital One Arena in Washington.

To call Thomas hardcore hockey would be an understatement. The Washington, D.C.-area chef is a forward in a men’s league at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland, and helps out when he can with the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, North America’s oldest minority youth hockey program.

Thomas got hooked on hockey after seeing “The Mighty Ducks” movie as a kid and became an NHL Ducks fan back in the days when that team was Mighty.

And left wing Paul Kariya was his player, so much so that he made the journey to Anaheim in October 2018 to watch the Ducks retire Kariya’s number. He made the pilgrimage to Toronto to witness Kariya’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.

Follow the Color of Hockey on Facebook and Twitter @ColorOfHockey. And download the Color of Hockey podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.

The Black Girl Hockey Club road show continues with N.Y. Rangers visit

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NEW YORKThe Black Girl Hockey Club took Manhattan over the weekend.

The group of women of color and their supporters attended the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning game at Madison Square Garden Saturday night, visited the National Hockey League’s Manhattan office, and met Commissioner Gary Bettman Friday.

The group also did a walk-through of the American Legacy Black Hockey History Tour –  a 525 square-foot mobile museum that will tour six U.S. cities as part of the league’s and the National Hockey League Players’ Association’s celebration of Black History Month.

“It’s really just fun to see women who look like me, especially women who are older than me, who like hockey. I’ve not seen that,” said Fatou Bah, an events/marketing/social media entrepreneur and die-hard Washington Capitals fan, who attended the weekend’s festivities.

BGHC was founded by Renee Hess, a Riverside, California, woman who sought to gather a critical mass of women of color who, like her, are interested in hockey but might be hesitant to attend games in arenas where minority fans are truly a minority.

The group held its first meet-up in Washington in December a drew more than 40 women and their children from across the country for a game between the Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.

Some Black Girl Hockey Club members take to the ice at Madison Square Garden after the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning game (Photo/Courtesy Fatou Bah).

The Rangers invited the group to New York and put on the hospitality with a tour of Madison Square Garden, an ice-level view of the team’s pre-game warm-up, and a meet-and-greet with right wing  Pavel Buchnevich and center Vladislav Namestnikov post-game.

The women also spoke with Anson Carter, the hockey analyst for New York’s MSG Network, NBC Sports Network, and veteran of 674 NHL games.

Black Girl Hockey Club members Fatou Bah, left, and Erica L. Ayala check out black hockey artifacts aboard an American Legacy traveling museum parked outside Madison Square Garden last week as part of the NHL’s Black History Month celebration ((Photo/Jared Silber/MSG Photos).

“We’re trying to diversify our fan base, right? And it’s not just with men, it’s women, too.” Carter said. “To see the Black Girl Hockey Club coming and the momentum that they’re getting, it’s getting parents to see other black women that are down with hockey, too. It’s all about the parents, as far as I’m concerned. If you can get the parents convinced and hooked, then the kids are going to play.”

Stephane Clare arrived from Brooklyn for Saturday’s game in the Full Lundqvist – adorned in a blue Rangers jersey with All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s name and number 30 on the back. She was excited to join the BGHC meet-up and have company inside MSG.

Black Girl Hockey Club member Stephane Clare takes a tour of a mobile museum dedicated to black hockey history parked outside Madison Square Garden Saturday (Photo/Jared Silber/MSG Photos).

“Usually I’m the only one at the game – it’s a little better when I go to Islanders games in Brooklyn – but, yeah, at MSG I’m very much in the minority. The more people that get involved with (hockey), off all races and genders, hockey should be much bigger than it is. It’s a great game.”

NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes, rear right, photo bombs Color of Hockey’s William Douglas, Black Girl Hockey Club members and New York Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov after Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden (Photo/Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos).

BGHC’s next stop? Nashville next weekend for a February 10 matinee between the Predators and St. Louis Blues.

The Smashville weekend coincides with the National Women’s Hockey League  All-Star Game, where BGHC members will see Buffalo Beauts defender Blake Bolden and the rest of the league’s best players in action.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman with Black Girl Hockey Club member Fatou Bah at the league’s New York office Friday (Photo/Courtesy Fatou Bah).

BGHC mebers will also be in the house at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center February 16 to watch the New York Islanders take on the Edmonton Oilers.

Follow the Color of Hockey on Facebook and Twitter @ColorOfHockey. And download the Color of Hockey podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.