Here are some links to a wonderful holiday hockey story that shows what the caring power of one person can do – no matter how young or how small.
And the final score is Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation $124,637.67, Ice Hockey in Harlem $83,370.93.
The kids from Snider Hockey topped their New York youth hockey rivals in a friendly fundraising competition that began with the drop of the puck at the Philadelphia Flyers-New York Rangers game on Nov. 25 and ended around midnight on Nov. 29.
The battle for bragging rights was part of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide.
During the competition, donors and supporters of the two minority-oriented youth hockey organizations visited the websites of Snider Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem to make contributions, or gave via mail or in person.
With their victory, the Philly kids were crowned #FaceOffChamps. As part of the competition, the Harlem skaters – who normally wear Rangers colors – must don Flyers orange and black T-shirts and proclaim their love for their dreaded turnpike rivals on Ice Hockey in Harlem social media sites.
It’s that time of year again.
Time for turkey and stuffing. It’s also time for the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers to beat the stuffing out of each other in a National Hockey League Metropolitan Division matinee the day after Thanksgiving at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center.
The Philadelphia-New York rivalry won’t be limited to the ice that Friday. Philly’s Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and New York’s Ice Hockey in Harlem will use the game to face off in a grudge match of their own- for good causes.
The two mostly-minority youth hockey organizations will engage in a head-to-head fund-raising battle when the Flyers-Rangers puck drops at 1 p.m. EST on the 25th.
The competition is in recognition of #GiveTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide.
Folks interested in participating in the challenge can do so by visiting the respective websites of Snider Hockey – www.sniderhockey.org – and Ice Hockey in Harlem – www.icehockeyinharlem.org – to make contributions online. Donations can also be done by mail or in person.
For the kids, the challenge is about bragging rights.The organization that raises the most money will be crowned #FaceOffChamps.
If Snider Hockey wins, a group of players from Ice Hockey in Harlem must wear Flyers T-shirts while sharing ‘Ice Hockey in Harlem LOVES the Philadelphia Flyers’ on IHIH’s social media pages.
Should Ice Hockey in Harlem win, Snider Hockey students must share their love for the Rangers on Snider Hockey’s social media pages while sporting Rangers gear.
“The real winners of this friendly competition will be the boys and girls of both programs who, through hockey, are learning life lessons and how to succeed in the game of life,” said Snider Hockey President Scott Tharp.
Ice Hockey in Harlem Executive Director John Sanful agreed.
“Snider Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem are committed to improving the social and academic well-being of children through the sport of ice hockey,” Sanful said. “This initiative will positively impact many deserving boys and girls.”
The two programs are part of “Hockey is for Everyone,” an NHL initiative that provides support and unique programming to some 40 nonprofit youth hockey organizations across North America.
It offers children of all backgrounds the opportunity and access to learn to play hockey at little or no cost.
People wishing to make donations or pledges to Ice Hockey in Harlem for the #GiveTuesday challenge can do so online or send donations to the attention of Ice Hockey in Harlem Executive Director John Sanful, 127 West 127th Street, Suite 415, New York, New York, 10027.
Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation supporters can make donations or pledges online, a dated check by mail, or by contacting Snider Hockey Development Staff at 215-952-4125. Flyers game attendees can also drop off donations at the Snider Hockey kiosk outside of section 108 during the hours of the competition.
Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson earned the nickname “Mr. October” for his home run exploits in the playoffs and World Series.
San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward has earned the reputation as “Mr. April” or “Mr. May” for his post-season heroics. Ward showed why the Sharks signed him to a three-year contract last summer as he scored a beautiful goal in the Sharks’ 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators in a second-round Stanley Cup Playoffs tilt Friday night.
“I just try to embrace the moment,” the 35-year-old veteran told the Associated Press. “I just think it’s the atmosphere of the crowds whether its home or away. Everyone is ramped up.”
Ward has 15 goals and 26 assists in 59 career playoff games. He’s averaging a point a game – 1 goal and 5 assists – in six playoff games this post-season. When he played for the Predators, Ward scored 7 goals in 12 playoff games in 2011. Another important number: Ward wears 42 to honor Brooklyn Dodgers baseball great Jackie Robinson.
He’s the crusher of goalie dreams. In 2012, as a member of the Washington Capitals, he scored a Game 7 overtime goal past Tim Thomas that eliminated the Boston Bruins from the playoffs. In last season’s playoffs, he scored a game-winning goal with one second left that beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.
You can call Ward anything – a baller, a player, the X-Factor, The Man, money, a beast, a stud, “Mr. April” or “Mr. May.” Whatever it is, just make sure you call him one hell of a playoff hockey performer.
You’re sitting at home getting ready to relax and watch a National Hockey League game when the phone rings. It’s an NHL team on the line begging you to get your butt off the couch, get your gear, get to the arena, and get ready to be an emergency backup goaltender for Henrik Lundqvist.
Emerson Etem is Broadway-bound. The swift winger was dispatched by the Anaheim Ducks, along with a high second-round pick to the New York Rangers for the lightning-quick Carl Hagelin on Day 2 of the NHL draft.
Etem, 23, scored one of the more dazzling goals of the playoffs last season, dancing by Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba and finishing with a flourish against Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
Etem, born in Southern California, had five goals and five assists last season in 45 games for the Ducks. He will be the only player of color on the Rangers, who dealt the prospect Anthony Duclair last season to the Arizona Coyotes. At 6-foot-1 and 206 pounds, Etem brings more of a physical presence to New York than Hagelin, one of the fastest skaters in the NHL.
When the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks face off Wednesday in the Stanley Cup Final opener, hockey fans will see two players of color who’ve been indispensable to their teams.
Right wing J.T. Brown has been a key role player for the Lightning ever since he was promoted from the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch in 2013-14 after All-Star forward Steven Stamkos suffered an injury. The Blackhawks’ Johnny Oduya is vying for his second Stanley Cup and has grown into one of Chicago’s top defensemen.
What fans watching the final probably won’t see are two coaches of color who’ve been vital behind the scenes to the Lightning’s quest for the Cup.
Frantz Jean is the Lightning goalie coach who puts starting netminder Ben Bishop and backup Andrei Vasilevskiy through their paces in practice and strives to keep them on an even keel during the emotional rollercoaster that is the playoffs.
Bishop out-dueled Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, a league Most Valuable Player candidate, and New York Rangers all-world netminder Henrik Lundqvist in the playoffs to earn the right to face Chicago sharpshooters Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad in the final round.
“From our perspective, Ben’s doing nothing different,” Jean told The Tampa Tribune earlier in May. “Except now he’s on a bigger stage.”
Bishop heads into the Stanley Cup Final with a 12-8 playoff record, 2.15 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. During the 2014-15 regular season, Bishop won 40 games, fourth-best among NHL goalies, and lost only 13 contests. His 2.32 goals-against average was 15th best in the league.
Jean has presided over the Lightning organization’s goaltending since 2010. Under his tutelage, Tampa Bay goaltending prospects playing for the AHL Norfolk Admirals and ECHL Florida Everblades vied for league championships in 2012.
Then-Lightning property Dustin Tokarski – now with the Montreal Canadiens – finished the 2012 AHL playoffs with the best save percentage and goal-against average and led the league with 32 wins in the 2011-12 regular season.
Jean joined the Lightning organization after coaching for 12 years with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His Moncton netminders allowed the fewest goals in the league in the 1999-00, 2005-06, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
A Montreal native, Jean coached goalies on Hockey Canada’s Under-18 teams that won Gold Medals at Ivan Hlinka Memorial International Tournaments in 2009 and 2010.
In the six degrees of separation of the hockey world, Jean can take some credit if the Blackhawks defeat his Lightning for the Stanley Cup. He coached Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford at Moncton.
“I’ve seen him grow from a teen to a man,” Jean told CSN Chicago recently. “When I see the work he had to go into the minors, to pay his dues and learn to be a consistent goaltender and then to be able to duplicate that in the pros, I’m very proud of him.”
Crawford is apparently still fond of his old coach. “A great coach, an awesome guy,” he told The Tampa Times in 2013. “He was great technique-wise, and for my mental game, taking care of myself and learning that aspect, too, getting rest at the right time. He definitely helped me moving on to pro hockey.”
Jean is a newcomer to the Lightning when compared to video coach Nigel Kirwan. He’s been with the ‘Bolts since the team’s inaugural season in 1992. He worked in the Lightning’s ticket sales office before then-Head Coach Terry Crisp made him a video coach in the 1996-97 season.
Initially, he thought Crisp’s job offer was a joke.
“I basically told him to go fly a kite,” Kirwan told TampaBayLightning.com in 2012. “Crispy was a prankster and loved to rile the office up so my immediate reaction was that he was trying to get me going. I also had a report due to my boss that was already late so I told him to just get out of my office.”
But Crisp, now a studio analyst for the Nashville Predators, pressed Kirwan because “I saw something in him,” he told TampaBayLightning.com. “He knew the game, he loved the game, and his personality fit right in with our staff. He fit right in like a hand in a glove,” Crisp added.
Now Kirwan serves as a keen set of eyes for Tampa Bay’s coaching staff and players. He breaks down pre-scout and game film and helps formulate scouting reports on opposing players. He performed the same tasks for Team USA at the 2008 and 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Winnipeg, Kirwan hoisted the Stanley Cup when the Lightning won it in 2004. Only the Blackhawks stand in the way of him doing it again.
Notes and quotes about hockey folks.
Another sign of how far people of color have come in hockey: Four black players were traded by the close of the National Hockey League’s trade deadline Monday.
The Buffalo Sabres shipped forward Chris Stewart to the Minnesota Wild Monday for a 2017 second-round draft pick.
The trade potentially reunites Duclair, currently playing for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, with Max Domi, a Coyotes 2013 first-round draft pick who plays for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
Duclair, Domi and Sam Reinhart, a Sabres 2014 first round draft pick, combined on a line for Team Canada that dominated the competition on Canada’s way to a Gold Medal at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Don’t be surprised to see The Duke and Domi as high-scoring pups who reinvigorate the Desert Dogs next season.
What do these trades say about minorities in hockey? Growth. It wasn’t so long ago when there weren’t even four black players in the NHL. Today, there are nearly three dozen. Some of them are fixtures on their teams while others are call-ups from the minor leagues. The trades are a testament not only to the quantity of players of color in the league but to their quality and skill level as well.
Congrats to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation for hosting a fun and successful 2015 Willie O’Ree Skills Weekend last weekend. The event involved kids from the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” programs.
O’Ree, the NHL’s first black player, is a role model for “Hockey is for Everyone” kids and for many of grownups playing on NHL teams.
“He’s my elder,” Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds told reporters. “I treat him with respect and let him know I have a lot of admiration for him. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be playing this game today. I know that.”
And finally, congrats to Cyril Bollers, coach and president of Skillz Hockey, for his work as assistant coach for Team Ontario’s Gold Medal-winning hockey team at the Canada Winter Games, which ended Sunday.
Ontario beat Team Alberta 3-1 Sunday in the championship game played in Prince George, B.C. The Ontario squad finished the Under-16 tournament with a 6-0 record.
This is the best time of year, full of good friends, good food, and great hockey.
The Christmas-New Years’ window is like a bonus round for hockey. Not only is there the usual slate of National Hockey League games to watch but also the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
This year’s outdoor spectacle is in my stomping grounds, Washington, D.C., at Nationals Park baseball stadium, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol building. While the Nation’s Capital’s weather isn’t likely to provide the winter wonderland snow-globe scene that was last year’s outdoor game at massive Michigan Stadium or the frozen tundra feel of the 2008 contest at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, the D.C. event should be picturesque nonetheless.
And the game should be good. The Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks are two weather-tested teams – the ‘Hawks played the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in 2009 and the Caps skated in a slightly rainy affair against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in 2011. And both are jockeying to improve their positions within their NHL divisions.
Chicago leads the NHL’s Central Division but is looking to create distance for itself from the surprisingly strong second-place Nashville Predators. After a shaky start to the 2014-15 season, the Capitals are tied with the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and trying to climb the Eastern Conference ladder for better playoff position.
If the Winter Classic and the rest of the NHL schedule isn’t enough to cure your holiday hockey jones, there’s the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
It’s a 10-nation tournament that kicks off Dec. 26 at the Bell Centre in Montreal and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The NHL Network will televise 28 games between Dec. 26 and the Gold Medal game on Jan. 5.
Consider the tournament the holiday Ghost of NHL Future. A healthy number of players in the tournament will likely be chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft. Team Canada’s Connor McDavid, a forward for the Erie Otters on the Ontario Hockey League, is the presumptive No.1 pick at the June 26-27 draft at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The World Junior teams will also feature several players who are under 20 years old who are alums of the 2014 and 2013 drafts. Three players on Team Canada are graduates of the 2013 draft: Forward Anthony Duclair and defensemen Madison Bowey and Darnell Nurse.
Duclair, a speedy sniper who played for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, was a third-round pick of the New York Rangers. He began the 2014-15 season on Broadway, making the NHL as a 19-year-old and earning the nickname “The Duke” from the Madison Square Garden faithful.
Bowey, the only right-hand shot on Team Canada’s defense, plays for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. He was drafted in the second round by the Capitals in 2013.
Nurse, captain of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, was the Edmonton Oilers’ first round pick in 2013, the seventh player chosen overall in that draft. Nurse hails from a sports family: his father played in the Canadian Football League, mother played college hoops in Canada, younger sister plays basketball for the University of Connecticut, and a cousin is a standout on the University of Wisconsin’s women’s hockey team. He’s also the nephew of retired National Football League star quarterback Donovan McNabb.
If the world junior championship isn’t enough, catch the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland. Six teams will compete in the world’s oldest invitational hockey tournament beginning Dec. 26: Team Canada, host HC Davos, KHL Medvescak Zagreb of Croatia, HC Salavant Yulaev Ufa of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, Jokerit Helsinki of Finland, and Geneve Servette HC of Switzerland, the defending cup champion. Canada’s TSN and TSN2 are broadcasting the tournament live.
Besides seeing some of the most colorful hockey jerseys on the planet – European players are skating billboards with advertising on their jerseys and gear – you’ll see some familiar NHL faces on some of the teams.
Team Canada is coached by Guy Boucher, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Members of his squad includes former Philadelphia Flyers/Chicago Blackhawks/Phoenix Coyotes/Calgary Flames/San Jose Sharks/Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jim Vandermeer; former Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent; former New York Islanders/Vancouver Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini; and former Edmonton Oilers forward Marc-Antoine Pouliot.
Several players of color will participate in the tournament including Zagreb’s Oyuwa and forward Edwin Hedberg.
And if the Spengler Cup doesn’t quench the hockey thirst, head to the rink, lace up the skates, put the gear on, and play yourself.
When Team Canada takes to the ice at Montreal’s Bell Centre for the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Dec. 26, the squad will be heavy on talent. It also may be heavy on diversity.
Four players of color are vying for spots on Team Canada at the team’s selection camp in Toronto – New York Rangers forward Anthony Duclair, Erie Otters forward Nick Baptiste, Kelowna Rockets defenseman Madison Bowey and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse.
Thirty players – two goaltenders, 10 defensemen, and 18 forwards – were invited to the camp for 22 spots on the Canadian team that will compete in the 10-nation tournament with games in Montreal and Toronto.
The tournament is a showcase for talented players from around the world who may find their way to a National Hockey League arena near you in the near future. The four players in Team Canada’s camp share a bond: All were chosen by teams in the 2013 NHL Draft at Newark’s Prudential Center.
The Rangers are loaning Duclair, their 2013 third-round draft pick, to Team Canada. The speedy rookie left wing has 1 goal and 6 assists for the Blue Shirts in 18 games. He scored he scored 50 goals and 49 assists in 59 games in 2013-14 for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“We expect that the team will benefit greatly from the addition of Anthony for both his skill and leadership, and we believe this will be a great experience for Anthony, as he embarks on what we expect will be a long and successful professional and international playing career,” said Scott Salmond, vice president of hockey operations/national teams for Hockey Canada.
Duclair, who averages about 12 minutes a game but has been a healthy scratch in the last three Rangers games, said he was thrilled to be loaned to the Canadian team.
“Very happy, honored to be here,” Duclair told The Toronto Sun. “(Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault) asked me a couple days after the roster came out what my thoughts were and I told him I wanted to be part of this tournament. Being in Canada, being in my hometown of Montreal, I wanted to be part of this.”
Nurse, the Edmonton Oilers’ 2013 first-round draft pick, is on a mission to make Team Canada after being snubbed last season. Captain of the Greyhounds, Nurse has 6 goals and 13 assists in 19 games for his OHL team. He played two games for the Oilers this season without collecting a point.
Nurse told reporters in Toronto that he’s improving his game by keeping it simple.
“I’m not putting myself in those situations where I get myself in trouble on the ice and not really helping out my teammates,” he told The Edmonton Sun. “It’s just maintaining that simple-game mindset and going out there and being someone who is hard to play against…I have always had the tools. It’s just finding the way to use them.”
Bowey, a Washington Capitals 2013 second-round draft pick, arrived at the Team Canada camp with a distinct advantage – he’s the only right-handed shot among the 10 blueliners invited to Toronto. He’s also second in scoring among defensemen in the Western Hockey League with 8 goals and 25 assists in 28 games for the Rockets.
He showed off his offensive skills earlier this season when he scored two goals and six assists in three games.
If right wing Nick Baptiste makes Team Canada, it will be his third team this season. Baptiste, a Buffalo Sabres third-round pick in 2013, began the 2014-15 season with the OHL Sudbury Wolves and was traded to the Otters in November. He notched 8 goals and 8 assists in 19 games with the two teams.