What’s better than eating pierogies out of the Stanley Cup?
Washington Captials defenseman Madison Bowey.
Eating grandma’s pierogies out of the Cup, just like Washington Capitals defense Madison Bowey did during his designated day with the trophy in Winnipeg on Saturday.
Bowey shared the Cup with his family and Winnipeg’s Varsity View Community Club, which he credited with helping mold him into a National Hockey League player.
“My hockey career began here, at this great community club in this wonderful hockey city, and this is my chance to pay tribute to everyone who helped me get started, and encouraged me to keep going,” Bowey said, per Canada’s Global News.
Bowey didn’t play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the 23-year-old did appear in 51 regular season games as a rookie in the 2017-18 season. He didn’t score a goal, but he did register 12 assists.
Washington Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey samples some of grandma’s pierogies from the greatest serving bowl – the Stanley Cup (Photo/MParolin/HHOF).
The Capitals showed their faith in their 2013 second-round draft pick when they re-signed him to a two-year, $2 million deal earlier this month.
Bowey said he hopes bringing the Stanley Cup to his local rink will show younger hockey players that all things are possible.
Madison Bowey hoisted the Stanley Cup after the Capitals won it in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights. He lifted it again at his local rink in Winnipeg (Photo/MParolin/HHOF).
“Help the younger guys that are striving to be where I am right now, and I think if I can just come back and help out the community as much as I can, it goes a long way,” Bowey said, according to Global News.
Nothing says “Thank you” like bringing the Stanley Cup to where your hockey career began. Washington Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey did that on his Cup day Saturday (Pnoto/MParolin/HHOF)
Bowey and Caps forward Devante Smith-Pellywill become the eighth and ninth black players to have their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup.
Years before he won the Stanley Cup, Madison Bowey spent some quality time with it as a Hockey Hall of Fame visitor. And he has the picture to prove it (Photo/WNeubrand/HHOF).
Two hockey teams of color literally took the show on the road this month to showcase their skill and their commitment to making the game more diverse.
The women of the Brown Bears and the boys from the NextGEN AAA Foundation didn’t take home any championship trophies, but they still felt like winners because their presence at two New England tournaments proved a point.
“It’s just shows that hockey is for everybody,” Brown Bears co-captain Gina Weires told me. “It shows that we can do it.”
The Brown Bears assembled for the first time at the Hockey Fights MS 2018 Vermont Tournament (Photo/Courtesy Jasmine Bazinet-Phillips).
The NextGEN AAA Foundation team that played in the 2018 Chowder Cup in suburban Boston strikes a pose (Photo/Courtesy Dee Dee Ricks).
The two friends wanted their team to be different. They wanted a roster of mostly minority women, something that they never experienced in their years of playing in the Maryland-Washington-Delaware-Virginia area.
“Seeing other hockey players of color around growing up, but very few, we felt that it was important that the ice surface is as diverse as the cities that we live in,” Bazinet-Phillips said. “Getting together the team, we hope to build a network of female hockey players of color, and then give female hockey players of color something to look forward to during the year in terms of coming to the tournament. But we also want to inspire them to go back to their local ice arenas and begin to build diversity at their rinks.”
But the first step for Bazinet-Phillips and Weires was building the Brown Bears’ inaugural roster.
Bazinet-Phillips, a Baltimore native who played NCAA Division III hockey at Maine’s Colby College, and Weires, a Washington, D.C., resident who played for and managed American University’s women’s club hockey team, reached out to the few minority players they knew and then brainstormed about where to find others.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney awkwardly stated that he had “binders full of women” who he could hire if he won the 2012 presidential election.
Weires and Bazinet-Phillips didn’t have binders, but they assembled a Google Doc with the names of 45 minority female hockey players who they could invite to join the Brown Bears, including some heavy hitters.
Brown Bears co-captains Jasmine Bazinet-Phillips, left, and Gina Weires racked their brains, searched the Internet, and even scoured The Color of Hockey, looking for players for their team (Photo/Courtesy Jasmine Bazinet-Phillips).
They contacted Sarah Nurse, who starred at the University of Wisconsin and won a Silver Medal playing for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
They reached out to defenseman Blake Bolden, a National Women’s Hockey League and Canadian Women’s Hockey League champion who played last season on HC Lugano’s women’s team in Switzerland.
Nurse and Bolden couldn’t make it. But Jordan Smelker, a forward for the NWHL’s Boston Pride, and Toni Sanders, a forward who skated for NCAA Division I Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 2010-11 to 2013-14 did make it.
So did an 18-year-old who played high school varsity hockey and a 55-year old woman who started playing the game five years ago. In all, 12 women of varying skill put on the tie-dyed jersey with the big claw logo and played for the Brown Bears in Vermont.
The team didn’t win a game, largely because tournament organizers moved it out of the women’s division into a more competitive co-ed division because of the presence of Smelker, Sanders and other skilled players.
“We were moved to the second-highest division with predominantly males,” she said. “I think it kind of made the men’s heads spin, but I think they were also happy to have us there. There was a very positive aspect to their reaction.”
The players on the NextGEN team turned heads with their performance at New England’s Pro-Am Hockey’s 2018 Chowder Cup in suburban Boston earlier this month.
NextGEN players in action at 2018 Chowder Cup (Photo/Courtesy Dee Dee Ricks).
NextGEN – a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, education and hockey programs to low-income and at-risk youth – fielded a team with some of the program’s elite players and sent them to the tournament through a sponsorship from Pure Hockey, the largest hockey equipment retailer in the United States.
The players came from across the U.S. and Canada and had never skated together. But once they hit the ice, it seemed like they had been playing together forever, NextGen founder Dee DeeRicks said.
Tournament coach Khalil Thomas – head coach and general manager of the Oshawa RiverKings and father of 2018 NHL second-round draft pick Akil Thomas – and Program Director Jeff Devenney ran the players through a few practices and had them ready to go.
NextGEN lost in the tourney’s quarterfinals to the NW Huskies, the team that went on to capture the Chowder Cup championship.
The diverse NextGEN team takes a break during practice at the 2018 Chowder Cup tournament (Photo/Courtesy Dee Dee Ricks).
“It doesn’t really matter about the winning, if you could have seen these kids together. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ricks said. “Just in terms of the bonding, the jelling, the acceptance. Immediately, it was like they were life-long friends, coming together for the cause.”
Bryce Salvador, NextGEN’s NHL alumni ambassador and a former captain for the New JerseyDevils, said the mostly-minority squad was just thrilled to have the experience.
“It doesn’t happen so often when you get a team that’s as diverse like that at a high level,” said Salvador, who was the NHL’s third black team captain. “Just the ability for them just to spend time together was, in my opinion, more important than actually playing the game.”
That said, Ricks and the NextGEN brain trust showed as much competitive fire during the tournament as the team that it put on the ice.
“My son went out for three shifts in one of the last games that we were up. And one of the (opposing) kids asked him ‘Why are you playing with a bunch of black kids?'” recalled Ricks, who is white. “And John-John looked at him, and he goes, ‘Why are you losing to a bunch of black kids?'”
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The New Jersey Devils hired former National Hockey League forward Mike Grier as an assistant coach Monday, adding to professional hockey’s minority coaching ranks.
A Detroit native, Grier played 1,060 NHL games as a right wing from 1996-97 to 2008-09 for the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals,Buffalo Sabres, and San Jose Sharks.
A 1993 St. Louis Blues ninth-round draft pick out of Boston University, Grier went on to score 162 goals, 221 assists and accumulate 510 penalty minutes in 1,060 NHL regular season games.
Rugged forward Mike Grier had two stints with the Buffalo Sabres during his 14-season NHL career (Photo/Bill Wippert)
He collected 14 goals, 14 assists and 72 penalty minutes in 101 Stanley Cup Playoff contests.
“We are looking forward to having Mike join our organization,” said Devils Head CoachJohn Hynes. “Having played 14 years and over 1,000 NHL games as a forward, Mike will lean on his experience in leadership roles to work with our players. He was a highly-respected teammate and had the ability to relate to all players with his personality, demeanor and experience. These attributes will be valuable in communicating and developing our players, as we continue to build a strong culture.”
Football is the Grier family business. Mike’s brother, Chris Grier, is general manager of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins. Their father, Bobby Grier, served as director of player personnel for the New England Patriots and was a personnel advisor for the Houston Texans.
But Mike, despite having a football-esque 6-foot-1, 224-pound frame during his playing days, opted for the ice rink over the gridiron.
He became the NHL’s fourth U.S.-born black player. He followed Indiana native Donald Brashear, Maine’s Mike McHugh, and Ocala, Florida’sValmore Jameswho became the NHL’s first African-American player when he debuted with Sabres in the 1981-82 season.
James and Brashear were tough guys, on-ice enforcers known more for their fists than their scoring hands. McHugh played only 20 NHL games for the Sharks and MinnesotaNorth Stars and scored only one goal.
Grier combined toughness with a scoring touch. He was the NHL’s first African-American player to score more than 20 goals in a season.
At Boston University, Grier notched 29 goals and 26 assists in 37 games in 1994-95 and helped power the Terriers to an NCAA Frozen Four championship. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the NCAA’s top men’s hockey player.
Grier played for Team USA at the 1995 International Ice Hockey Federation WorldJunior Championship and won a bronze medal skating for the U.S. at the 2004 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
“It’s really something that I’m proud of, being one of the first to break through,” Grier told the Color of Hockey in 2014. “The (minority) players who are coming up now are skill players who are contributing to their teams. It’s only natural to get more kids of color in the game.”
Barring any moves, Grier will be one of six NHL coaches of color when the 2018-19 season begins in October.
Scott Gomez is on the Islanders coaching staff and NigelKirwan serves as a video coach for the Lightning.
Paul Jerrard was the only NHL coach of color to work behind the bench during games last season. The Calgary Flames fired Jerrard in April and the NCAADivision I University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks hired him in May to be the team’s assistant coach.
Former NHL pugilist Peter Worrell was hiredearlier this month as an assistant coach for the Fayetteville Marksmen of the South Professional Hockey League.
In May, the SPHL’s Macon Mayhem named Leo Thomas its head coach, making him the only black professional hockey head coach in North America.
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To understand why Willie O’Ree is entering the Hockey Hall of Fame in November as a builder of the game look no further than Ayodele “Ayo” Adeniye.
Adeniye is the latest branch – and a very big one – from the O’Ree hockey tree to bear fruit.
U of Alabama-Huntsville 2020 hockey commit Ayodele Adeniye.
The 6-foot-5 defenseman from Columbus, Ohio, committed last week to play for the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, an NCAA Division I team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, beginning in the 2020 season.
“In terms of development, he was just a good role model because there are not a lot of (black people) in hockey,” Adeniye told me recently. “He was always the guy I asked questions and looked up to. I picked his brain a little bit.”
Six-year-old Ayodele Adeniye with Willie O’Ree at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit when the Columbus Ice Hockey Club played in the “Hockey in the ‘Hood” tournament (Photo/Courtesy Ayodele Adeniye).
And Adeniye had ample opportunities to do it. His mother, Lisa Ramos, chauffeured O’Ree around whenever he visited Columbus.
“I probably met him over 15 times,” Adeniye said. “For me, Willie getting into the Hall, to me, means the world.”
Ramos said her son bonded with O’Ree, in part, because of their shared history with vision issues.
O’Ree only played 45 NHL games over the 1957-58 and 1960-61 seasons with the Boston Bruins largely because he was blind in his right eye, the result of a deflected puck.
That didn’t prevent him from having a long and prolific minor league career, scoring 328 goals and 311 assists in 785 games in the old Western Hockey League.
Adeniye suffered from misaligned eyes, a condition that required several surgeries to correct, Ramos said.
“It’s not only the story of him being the first black hockey player, but everything he went through, the issue with his eye,” Ramos told me. “The other thing that Willie does, and it means so much to Ayo, is he always takes time to talk to him. You can see the stars in his eyes when Willie talks to him, even now.”
Defenseman Ayodele Adeniye was cut from the Ohio Blue Jackets AAA hockey program, but worked his way back onto the team (Photo/Courtesy Ayodele Adeniye).
Adeniye, whose father is from Nigeria, got interested in hockey around age three when he attended a skating birthday party at a local rink. He noticed a high school hockey game on an adjacent ice sheet and told his mom that’s what he wanted to do.
Ramos immediately said “no” because “I didn’t know anything about hockey at all.”
“My grandfather played in the Negro Leagues (baseball), my dad won the state in high jump in track and field, he won the state in cross country, he played basketball for the Army in Europe,” she said. “We had all these different sports, and hockey wasn’t one of them.”
Defenseman Ayodele Adeniye practicing with the Ohio Blue Jackets AAA team.
But Adeniye persisted. When his mother put him in a tyke basketball program, he moved about the court in ice skating motions instead of running like the rest of the children. Ramos got the hint.
“My mom said ‘Whatever,’ put me in hockey, and I fell in love,” he said.
Hockey didn’t always love him back. At one point, Adeniye was cut from the Ohio AAA program. Instead of sulking, he remembered one of O’Ree’s favorite sayings: “If you can, you can. If you say you can’t, you’re right.”
He returned to Columbus last season and played 33 games for the Ohio Blue Jackets, contributing a goal and 7 assists from the blue line. He had 30 penalty minutes.
Adeniye patterns his game after Columbus Blue Jackets All-Star defenseman Seth Jones.
Ayodele Adeniye hanging out with his favorite NHL player, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (Photo/Courtesy Ayodele Adeniye).
“One hundred percent. I want to consider myself a two-way defenseman, but I’m more of a defensive defenseman with offensive abilities, just like Seth,” Adeniye said. “He can join the rush every once in a while and he’s a pretty good lock-down defenseman. I try to play the same game. I look at his speed, I watch his positioning.”
He met Jones once and offered the 23-year-old NHL veteran a bit of advice: Watch your back.
“I told him, as a joke, ‘I’m taking your spot,'” he said. “‘Give me about five, six years, I’m taking your spot.'”
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Peter Worrell punched his way into professional hockey. Now he’s looking to coach his way back to the pros.
Worrell, who accumulated more than 1,500 penalty minutes as a left wing and enforcer for the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche from 1997-98 to 2003-04, was named assistant coach of the Fayetteville Marksmen of the single-A Southern Professional HockeyLeague last week.
Former Florida Panthers forward Peter Worrell in 2002.
A Panthers 1995 seventh-round draft pick, Worrell quickly turned to coaching after playing his last professional game with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers in 2005-06.
He returned to Florida the following season to become head coach of North BrowardPreparatory School. He assumed additional responsibility in 2010-11 when he became bench boss of Florida Atlantic University’s American Collegiate Hockey Association’sDivision III team.
“When I ended my seasons last year, I made the decision I wanted to explore new challenges,” Worrell said. “I contacted a lot of teams, in many leagues. When I first contacted the Marksmenand I talked to (Head Coach Jesse) Kallechy, it just felt right. It was a big decision for me, as I was comfortable in my previous positions, but everyone in Fayetteville has been so welcoming and first class, I know I couldn’t have found a better position.”
And Kallechy believes that he couldn’t have found a better bench sidekick for the Fayetteville, North Carolina, team than Worrell.
“He blew me away in the interview process,” Kallechy said. “He was an excellent communicator, our views on player personnel aligned, and he is eager to learn and bring fresh viewpoints to the team.”
Worrell will become the SPHL’s second black coach when the puck drops for the 2018-19 season. In May, the Macon Mayhem tapped Leo Thomasas its head coach, making him the only black professional hockey head coach in North America.
While the SPHL’s minority coaching numbers grow, the ranks of coaches of color in the National Hockey League declined following 2017-18 season.
The Calgary Flames let go veteran Assistant Coach Paul Jerrard, who was the league’s only minority coach to work behind the bench during games.
He wasn’t unemployed very long. The University of Nebraska OmahaMavericks hired Jerrard in May to be an assistant coach for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference team.
“He has a very good track record of developing players,” UNO Head Coach MikeGabinet said. “I knew, first off, how good of a person he was having played for him. He was my (defense) coach. And when you’re a player, people always ask you afterward who’s influenced you as a coach.”
Jerrard, who played hockey for Lake Superior State University from 1983-84 to 1986-87, said he’s stoked about returning to the college game. He tallied 40 goals and 73 assists in 156 games as a defenseman for the Lakers.
He brings to the bench 2⃣1⃣ years of coaching experience across the NHL, AHL and college hockey. 💪
“I’ve always loved college hockey, and I’m looking forward to working with and developing our players, not just in their careers but academically as well to help them prepare for success in the future,” he said.