Mike Green: In The Mix For An Olympic Spot By Jeremy Freeborn
10. Letter from Alberta Health to Calgary Hockey Magazine 11.
Renovations at Scotiabank Saddledome By Jeremy Freeborn
Wendy’s Arena Locator Map
16. Safebrain Systems By Jeremy Freeborn 18. Is The West The Best Conference? By Rob Suggitt 20. Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team Orientation Camp By Jeremy Freeborn 22. Hyundai Hockey Helpers By Shari Narine 24. Spotlight on an Official By Rob Suggitt
PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE Welcome back to another hockey season! In this issue of the magazine, we have a special article on the Hyundai Hockey Helpers program, which was launched in partnership with KidSport in 2012. Fundraising generated through this program helped over 240 kids in our province lace up skates last season.
Credits President and Publisher Rob Suggitt Vice President Stephen Kathnelson
Playing a game like hockey has inherent risks, and one area of concern is the incidence of concussions, especially at the minor hockey level. One local company is doing something about it. In this issue, we chat with the founders of Safebrain Systems, a company which created a monitoring device (a sensor actually) which can be affixed to a player’s helmet to monitor the severity of impact or trauma to the head. It’s a great idea, and one which has the potential of preventing or reducing the number of concussions in the game, especially repeat concussion incidences.
Art Director Christine Kucher
The matter of safety in minor hockey is an important one. Last season, we ran an article on bodychecking in minor hockey, and in particular, whether bodychecking should be allowed at the peewee level. As a result of many efforts, Hockey Alberta made the decision to ban bodychecking at the peewee level effective this season. We are proud that we voiced our opinion in this direction, and we’re pleased that Hockey Alberta made this bold step. We have included a letter from Alberta Health acknowledging our efforts, this letter which appears on Page 10 in this issue.
For more on Hockey Alberta’s decision, please check out the following link: http://www.hockeyalberta.ca/bodychecking/ Finishing up, we would like to draw attention to a mainstay in the magazine – our “Spotlight on an Official” feature which graces the last pages of the magazine. We started this feature 12 years ago, and to date, over 30 young officials have been highlighted. We think it’s important to take the helmets off these young participants in the game, so that parents, coaches and fans are reminded that officials are similar in age to the kids who play the game. Players make mistakes, and so do officials, but positive encouragement goes a long way to keep our kids involved in this great sport!
Graphic Designer Cole Mckelvie
Jeremy Freeborn I Terry Skidnuk Rob Suggitt
Copy Editing Shari Narine
Calgary Flames Hockey Club | Scott Jacko Washington Capitals Photography Gary Peterson, Action Sports Images Avonlea Photography Studio | Hockey Canada Images
Administration Amber Grmek
#950, Bell Tower, 10104 - 103 Ave., Edmonton, AB T5J 0H8 Ph: 780-423-5834 • Fax: 780-413-6185 The Hockey Magazine is a product of Playhouse Publications Ltd., an affiliate of Suggitt Group Ltd.
President & CEO Tom Suggitt President & CFO Rob Suggitt All rights reserved. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed within do not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. www.Suggitt.com Printed by: R.R. Donnelley
If you know a young official who you think is deserving of recognition, please send your nomination by e-mail to: email@example.com. And if you have any ideas or stories about minor hockey, please pass them along. Until next time, we wish everyone all the best this hockey season!
HOCKEY Sincerely, Rob Suggitt Publisher,
We are always open to suggestions for articles and stories, and in particular, at the minor hockey level. If you have a suggestion for a story, please pass it along to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALGARY HOCKEY MAGAZINE
Article by Jeremy Freeborn
Photographs courtesy of Washington Capitals Photography
THIS IS AN EXCITING TIME FOR CALGARY NATIVE MIKE GREEN
The Washington Capitals defenceman, who is entering his ninth year with the team, was invited to participate in the Hockey Canada Olympic Orientation Camp for the Canadian menâ€™s national hockey team at Calgaryâ€™s Canada Olympic Park from August 25-28. He was among 17 Canadian blueliners invited by management in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and, of the 47 players, the only one born and raised in Calgary. Hockey Magazine
“I was about nine or ten years old, and all my buddies were playing. I started late. I asked my parents to play. They signed me up.”
he orientation camp was a little different than previous camps for Green and the other elite Canadian players vying for an Olympic spot. Due to insurance issues, players were not allowed to skate on the ice. So in order for the Canadian coaching staff and players to go over various strategies and to make their time in Calgary productive, a form of ball hockey was played at the Markin McPhail Centre. Green admits it was strange running around with shoes on playing hockey rather than lacing up the skates. “Obviously it was a little different. I haven’t played ball hockey in a long time. It was very important, informative and we learned a lot. It was important that players got together with each other, and got a feel for their game. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have fun. It is a great group of guys here.” Just to be asked to be part of the orientation camp was meaningful for Green. “I was excited, extremely excited. Obviously I wasn’t there in the last one (2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver), but had attended the Olympic camp. I’ve been working hard to get an invite back. I’m extremely excited.” Green also had the opportunity at the camp to play with his Washington Capitals teammate Karl Alzner during the practice sessions. Alzner also has a Calgary connection as he played with the Calgary Hitmen from 2003-2008. Green, who claims winning the city championship with Simon’s Valley at the peewee level was his greatest thrill while playing hockey in Calgary, remembers when he started playing the game. “I was about nine or ten years old, and all my buddies were playing,” he said. “I started late. I asked my parents to play. They signed me up.” In 2000-01, at the age of 15, Green played with the Calgary North Stars of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. While most players his age played bantam, Green played regularly against players two years older than him.
“What I remember most about Mike is that his skating was spectacular. He would do things so nonchalantly and he could move the length of the ice so quickly. He had so much natural skating ability,” said Carey Bracko, Green’s coach at the time. “His work ethic was outstanding and would listen extremely well. He had a natural sort of ability to move the puck up the ice and it was fun to watch.” Following his year with the North Stars, Green played five years with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. Selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round, 29th overall in the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Green played his first game with Washington on Oct. 12, 2005, against the Carolina Hurricanes. At 27 years of age, Green is now entering the prime of his NHL career. Even though his point totals have dipped in recent years (57 points in the last three seasons combined after a career high 76 points in 2010), Green had 12 goals and 14 assists in only 35 games in 2012-13 with the Capitals. His 12 goals in 2012-13 led all defencemen in the National Hockey League. Green, a two-time member of the NHL’s first all-star team, also seems healthy, a significant accomplishment after having suffered injuries to his ankle, groin, and shoulder in recent years. Green also missed the last 20 games of the 2011 regular season after suffering two concussions—one because of a slap shot that hit him in the head and the other as a result of an elbow from Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers.
Heading into his 2013-14 season with the Capitals, Green is looking forward to the season ahead. “We’re excited to get started here. I think we ended up with a good season. We came a long way through the season. Moving forward we feel good about where we’re at. Especially with the new coach in Adam Oates (first season in 2012-13). Guys were excited.”
“Hopefully we’ve learned from our mistakes,” he said. “We’re excited and all the guys are ready to go.”
In recent years, the Capitals have had better regular seasons than playoffs. They have finished in first place in the Southeast Division in five of the last six years, but have not reached the Eastern Conference final in that time period. Green believes there are things the team can improve on to be better.
There is no question that opportunities on the Canadian defense will be available. Since Canada won the 2010 Olympic gold medal in Vancouver, all-star Scott Niedermayer has retired and Chris Pronger is near retirement after suffering from post-concussion syndrome in recent years.
Green has represented Canada twice internationally before. At the 2003 World Under-18 Championship, he helped lead Canada to its first gold medal in the event and then won a silver medal at the 2008 World Hockey Championship in Halifax and Quebec City.
“Guys leaving kind of opened up a spot for some other guys,” said Green. The Canadian coaching staff plans to keep an open mind, meaning if Green plays well in the fall, he has a legitimate chance of making his way on to the Olympic roster.
For those young aspiring hockey players in Hockey Calgary, Green encourages players not to be afraid to be creative on the ice. There is no doubt that Green’s creativity with the puck is a major reason why he has found success in hockey at the highest level.
In late June, the city of Calgary experienced one of the most catastrophic environmental disasters in its history. According to the Canadian Press, 100,000 Albertans were forced to evacuate from their homes as the southern Alberta region experienced record rainfall. On June 20 alone, Calgary experienced a record one day rainfall of 45mm. The town of Canmore had 220mm of rain in three days and all 13,000 residents in the town of High River were forced to leave their homes. The flooding was widespread. The cost of damage in southern Alberta is estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $5 billion, with the damage in the city of Calgary alone close to $1 billion. The Scotiabank Saddledome, home of the National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames and the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Calgary, experienced significant damage. According to Rogers Sportsnet, approximately 300 million gallons of water crashed into the Saddledome’s lower level. The Flames’ executive has not yet put a dollar figure on the amount of damage. “It’s a big number in terms of both business interruption and property loss and that type of thing”, said Calgary Flames President
Ken King in a press conference on Sept. 5. “John (Bean, the new Calgary Flames chief operating officer) has worked closely with the insurance company who has been very good and very appropriate.” In early September, the Calgary Flames Vice President of Building Operations Libby Raines spoke to Calgary Hockey Magazine about the overall devastation of Scotiabank Saddledome. “It was shocking to see the extent of damage that nine feet of water will do,” she said. “Then it was, what do we need to do to get it back to operate?’” According to Kristen Odland, sports writer for the Calgary Herald, the flood kept many Calgarians busy over the summer. Approximately 400 workers did a 12-hour shift during the day and another 200 workers did a 12-hour shift at night for 69 straight days and nights to do the necessary cleaning and renovations. Calgary Flames Director of Building Operations Robert Blanchard said there were “650,000 man hours” used in two months to get the Scotiabank Saddledome ready for the start of the 2013-14 hockey season. Many of the Calgary Flames’ employees were disrupted. Initially they worked from home and then were able to work in the Calgary Stampeders offices while the renovations were going on at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Currently the Flames own the Hitmen, Stampeders, and the Calgary Roughnecks.
Once the Calgary Stampede concluded in mid-July, most staff members were able to return to the Saddledome, albeit not under the most ideal conditions.
were able to use the Markin McPhail Centre, which experienced no damage and was actually used as a primary location for flood victims needing shelter and a temporary place to stay.
“We had a big bullpen setup in one of our conference rooms that a lot of people were working from,” said Raines.
The flood devastation also impacted former Calgary Flame Sheldon Kennedy (profiled in the Fall 2009 issue of Calgary Hockey Magazine for his outstanding work in trying to increase respect in sports) and prospect Corban Knight.
The most significant damage was on the event floor. The list included all of the major ice plant equipment, the kitchen which had to be completely replaced, the uniforms, dressing rooms, the television production room, the Ed Whalen Media Lounge, and the equipment used to operate the Jumbotron. Also, 2,500 seats were destroyed. According to King, the work of the employees to get the Scotiabank Saddledome ready has been “miraculous.” “It really is amazing. It’s been a fantastic effort by our staff and contractors,” Raines agreed. In September, the Calgary Flames held training camp at the hockey arenas at Calgary’s Markin McPhail Centre and not because of flood damage to the Scotiabank Saddledome. “We did not intend to have our training camp here (at the Scotiabank Saddledome). Training camp (was) at Winsport. That was by design and not as a product of this,” said King. By having the training camp at the Markin McPhail Centre, it strengthened the relationship between the Calgary Flames and Hockey Canada, a partnership that started in the 1980’s. The Flames
Kennedy had five feet of water in his Erlton neighbourhood basement, while Knight, who lives in High River, lost some hockey memorabilia and important articles handed down to him from his grandparents, according to the Calgary Sun. Many people with hockey connections stepped up to help. Among those included Flames forwards Michael Cammalleri and Matt Stajan, who volunteered their time in High River, and Canadian women’s hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser (profiled in the Winter 2013 issue of Calgary Hockey Magazine) who volunteered in Elbow Park. It is no secret the Calgary Flames are hoping to move into a new state-of-the-art facility sometime in the next decade. “The challenges we have with the facility (the Scotiabank Saddledome) include the limitations of the roof and space limitations throughout the building still exist. We’ve replaced the equipment that was on our event floor in order to keep operating. But the challenges with our facility continue to be a problem,” said Raines.
As far as the start of the season goes, Raines is looking forward to the Calgary Flames being on the Scotiabank Saddledome ice. “We’re excited and proud to achieve what we have. We’re looking forward to getting the doors open again and getting back to what we all love to do.” For those that are showing some reservations concerning health issues of returning to watch hockey at the Scotiabank Saddledome this season, Raines has the following response. “I think you should not be concerned at all. I think for most people it’s not going to appear very much different. The bulk of the working has been done on our event floor which is not generally a public area. I think they should be very comfortable coming back and it’s going to be pretty much business as usual.” The mere fact everything is expected to be as it was last season at the Scotiabank Saddledome for spectators is pretty impressive indeed.
By Jeremy Freeborn Photos provided by Scott Jacko
In early September, the issue of concussions made sports headlines when the National Football League came to a $765 million settlement with 4,500 former players who sued the NFL for not disclosing the long term effects of concussions and not notifying them of the danger of rushing back into game action before they were ready to play. Football and hockey are two sports with significant similarities. Players are expected to play as physical as possible to get the edge on their opponent. Concussions continue to be a major occurrence because of the high level of physicality that exists in these games. One company that is assisting the medical profession to help determine the severity of a brain injury is Safebrain Systems. The Calgary-based company has created a sensor on the back of helmets so doctors and trainers can determine if players have been hit hard enough to have a traumatic brain injury. The Safebrain concept was created by Rod Newlove, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 2008. Newlove originally worked closely with Dr. Martin Mrazik, a neuropsychologist at the University of Alberta, before selling the company to Calgary businessman Mike Scott, who then became Safebrain’s president and chief executive officer. Mrazik and Scott both have a personal history with concussions. Mrazik suffered concussions while playing junior hockey in Quebec, while
Scott has experienced his share of concussions riding his “nitromethane power motorcycle” at full speed. Scott says that concussions are a serious issue in minor hockey today. He is trying to do his part to keep hockey popular in Alberta. “I’m worried about the lack of enrollment in hockey and how it’s dropped the last couple of years and I know if kids aren’t busy, they are doing something else. It’s all about saving the game is my real focus. We’re not going to save concussions, but if you can save a player from going back on to the ice before they sustain a second hit, (that’s great),” said Scott. Safebrain software provides information on the time of each impact and the acceleration force that can be measured from several directions. Before a player competes, he/she has to set a personal threshold. The factors that determine a player’s individual threshold are gender, size, concussion history and skill level. According to www.safebrain.ca, the recommended range is from 10-20 G’s. When a player experiences contact at a force that exceeds the threshold, the sensor flashes. Safebrain’s focus is with football and hockey players. The Saskatoon Blades and Portland Winterhawks, of the Western Hockey League, believe the product is beneficial for hockey players to try. “I support the concept of the product and continued product advancements in co-ordinance with ongoing scientific research for an aid in
concussion management,” said Winterhawks Athletic Trainer Rich Campbell in an email sent to Calgary Hockey Magazine. Mrazik continues to oversee trial tests for Safebrain and likes what he sees. “For me as a researcher, I really think it is a great tool because one of the things we have been very aware of is that managing concussions can be a challenge. Especially one of the biggest issues at the younger levels is recognition of concussions, or a lot of players still continue to play even though they shouldn’t be. So the device is really an alert system for anybody involved in the game when a player suffers a significant injury.” Safebrain has its benefits, but Mrazik stresses that the Safebrain product is not a diagnostic tool. The sensor provides the medical community with information that is helpful for doctors in
determining if a player has suffered a concussion, and assists them in their own evaluation strategies. According to the Safebrain Systems website, the product does not prevent concussions. The primary purpose of the sensor is to “help prevent Second Impact Syndrome,” with the goal that the information Safebrain is able to provide, players do not return to impact sports too quickly after suffering a head injury. Safebrain Systems is not the only company that has created helmet sensors to assist the medical field with concussions. The Ontario-based companies of Shockbox and Impact Alert have developed something similar to Safebrain. However, according to Mrazik, Safebrain Systems have produced the best product for athletes including hockey players today. “To me, Safebrain is the better tool because you have a better measure of rotational acceleration, plus it has the instant learning device feature. The main issue is that you want a lightweight device that is comfortable, and from what I have heard other people tell
me about the other devices, they require much more specialized training helmets. Our device doesn’t. It’s a simple eight gram device that fits nicely on the back of all helmets. It measures movement in all three planes, while the other ones are direct impacts. Here we can actually track movement of the head and whether those go above a certain threshold that leads to a concussion.” The issue of concussions is nothing new. The problem has been around for decades in hockey. However it has only been in recent years, due to the advances in the medical field, that the public has been informed about the seriousness of concussions. “If someone sustains a concussion and they are treated properly, and monitored and released back into the game, I think the concussion problem and the extended head injury problem is going to be less. It will never go away. If you can stop a player from going back on to the ice once they rattled their brain, you are going
to have a better chance of long term mental health”, said Scott. “There is more damage done after someone gets a concussion and continues to play than the original concussion.” Scott discussed Pittsburgh Penguins’ star Sidney Crosby as a primary example. In the Winter Classic of 2011, Crosby was hit by David Steckel, who at the time was playing for the Washington Capitals. Crosby, who was wounded, remained in the game. Four nights later against Tampa Bay, Crosby who only complained of neck pain, played and was hit again by Victor Hedman. A day later, Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the rest of the season. He would not make his return until Nov. 22, 2011. “If he would have sat out and got his brain healthy, he would have been back in the game sooner,” said Scott. “He would have been back in the game healthier.” According to Scott, his management team is focusing on selling their product to parents at the moment rather than to entire organizations or hockey teams. For more information about Safebrain, you can call Scott Jacko, Safebrain Systems’ vice president of business and development at 1-866-362-8740 or email him at email@example.com.
Since 1996, Western Conference teams have won the Stanley Cup eleven out of seventeen times. In all but one of the Eastern Conference’s Cup wins, it took seven games for the East to win the coveted trophy. In 87 games played in the Stanley Cup Finals (since the 1995-1996 season), Western Conference teams have won 54 out of 87 games, which works out to 62% of final series games played. Does this prove that the West is better than the East? On its own, probably not, but in looking closer at the differences between the two conferences the past 10-15 seasons, there is enough evidence to show that the Western Conference is the better conference. If you look at recent years (since the 2004-2005 lockout), Western conference teams have averaged more points than Eastern Conference teams each and every season. This is not easy to do, especially with so few games played outside one’s own conference. (Until this season that is.)
Here are the results of the past eight NHL seasons, with average points per team shown for both conferences:
Now that the league has unveiled a more balanced schedule this season (teams now play two games with each and every team outside their own conference), the disparity between the two conferences appears to be widening. In looking at the NHL standings at press time (November 4th), Eastern conference teams had an average of 13.75 points, while Western Conference teams showed 18.14 points per team.
“In looking at East vs. West play in the first month of the season, there were 96 games played between the two conferences, and in 64% of these games, the West came out on top.” In looking at East vs. West play in the first month of the season, there were 96 games played between the two conferences, and in 64% of these games (61 out of 96), the West came out on top! If you include overtime loss points, Western teams collected at least one point in 70 out of 96 games. This works out to a staggering 73% of games where Western teams gathered a point against their “weaker” conference rivals. This is a vast difference, and while the disparity gap is unlikely to be this wide as the season continues, it looks most likely that the West will be the superior conference for yet another season. While a difference of two points may not seem to be a lot, keep in mind how many times a team misses the playoffs by one or two points. When looking at the results of games played between Eastern Conference teams and Western Conference teams the past eight seasons, Western teams gathered points in 66% of games played. (Maybe, just maybe, this is the reason the Detroit Wings wanted to switch conferences. And maybe this caught other teams’ attention too?)
It sure isn’t going to be any easier for Eastern Conference teams. While enjoying very favourable travel schedules for many years, the NHL’s more balanced schedule means more travel time for Eastern teams, something Western Conference teams have gotten used to over the years.
It will be interesting to see how things develop this season, and while the disparity gap between the two conferences went mostly unnoticed in past seasons, this may not slip “under the radar” this hockey season!
do in preparation for the Olympics in terms of player interviews, player profiles, or player sizing for Canadian Olympic Committee apparel, and protocols surrounding the Olympics. There is so much information that needs to be shared with the players that it is critical that the players come in. It also gives the management and the coaching staff not only (a chance) to meet and engage in planning, but also to engage with the players and spend some time in that environment where they get to know the players a little better.”
For two days in August at Canada Olympic Park’s Markin McPhail Arena, it was difficult not to be star struck. As 45 of the best Canadian hockey players in the National Hockey League went through various ball hockey drills for the Canadian Olympic Men’s National Hockey Team Orientation Camp, it was amazing to witness the calibre of talent gathered together in one arena at a single time. On the floor you had the reigning Ted Lindsay Award winner Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the last two Selke winners—Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, 2011 Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, along with Norris Trophy winners Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens, just to mention a few. Just watching head coach Mike Babcock take the all-star team through his systems he has developed in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, left many of the media in awe.
Walchuk obviously was there to fill a need, but cherished the once in a lifetime experience. “It was pretty overwhelming. Just going into a room full of superstars like that was pretty cool. Something I will never forget for sure. It was an experience I learned a lot from and something I really enjoyed,” he said.
“There are so many things to do in preparation for the Olympics”
TSN’s Jermain Franklin was asked by a cameraman how he was doing, and Franklin turned back, smiled and said, “I’m living the dream.” Hockey Canada Vice-President Paul Carson explains the reasons why the orientation camp took place. “Considering the number of activities that are required, it is interesting. It’s not just about getting on the ice or getting a look at players in a playing mode. There are so many things to
One of the most intriguing storylines at the camp was about one player who had the chance to suit up as a forward. With Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux out with a broken finger from a golf injury and San Jose Sharks’ captain Joe Thornton having to miss because of a family illness, the opportunity presented itself to former Spokane Chiefs forward Dylan Walchuk, who practiced on a line with Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers and Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes.
A major part of the camp was the players being able to understand the systems implemented by head coach Mike Babcock, the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, who is returning after being Canada’s bench boss at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Even though Walchuk was with team Canada for only a short period of time, he gave Hockey Magazine insight into Team Canada’s video analysis. “He (Babcock) demanded everyone be responsible with the puck and that they are not going to take players that aren’t responsible with the puck. He wanted players that can skate and be smart. That was emphasized a lot during the video sessions.” “His system is a lot like the L.A. Kings’ system,” according to star defenceman Drew Doughty, who should be counted on by Team Canada to play many minutes in an attempt to shut down the elite forwards of opposing teams. “Playing against him, we study Detroit’s
systems all the time, so I know exactly how he wants to play. It is obviously a successful system. He has had great teams over the years.” According to Sidney Crosby, the meetings in Calgary were very beneficial “There was a lot of information. You know just things and details in the way we want to play. Just trying to grasp all that is important. You’ve got to make the most of it. There isn’t a ton of time over there (in Sochi), so you make the most of having the time here together and trying to get a grasp of what the team wants.” One major difference players will experience at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi is the larger ice surface compared to what they experience in North America for the National Hockey League. The European ice surface is ten feet longer and 13 feet wider than in North America. However, according to Crosby, he does not plan to make any major changes to the style of his game. “I don’t think so. You don’t really change the habits or things that have given you success.” One area of concern for the Canadian management and coaching staff at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi could be goaltending. After decades where there were always elite Canadian goaltenders at the national team’s disposal, that does not seem to be the case this time around. While the United States, Sweden and Finland can declare the position of goaltender as a strength, this is not the case for team Canada, who are looking to defend their Olympic title.
Questions surround the consistency of front runners Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks and Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. Players who have a strong start to the regular season may have an opportunity to be on the Olympic roster. At the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Sidney Crosby, Marc Savard, Eric Staal, Jason Spezza, Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau did not make the primary team (Staal and Spezza were named alternates) despite the fact they all finished the year in the top 20 in National Hockey League scoring.
The selection for the Olympic team will be highly scrutinized this season. The decisions made by Steve Yzerman and his staff, that includes Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, are expected to be debated in hockey arenas throughout Canada. Who do you think will make team Canada? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and the consensus will be published in the Winter Issue of Hockey Magazine Calgary and Hockey Magazine Edmonton. Please note the roster size for men’s hockey at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi is now 25 players. So we are looking for 14 forwards, eight defencemen and three goaltenders.
By Shari Narine Photos provided by Avonlea Photography Studio
Karl Subban still has three boys playing hockey. The thought of any of them having come to him as youngsters and saying, “Daddy, I really want to play and I know because of the cost I can’t play,” would have broken his heart. Now Subban and those three boys are spokespeople for Hyundai Hockey Helpers. “We have been blessed so now it’s our turn to give blessings to others through our popularity and through hockey,” said Subban. When Hyundai Canada launched its program in 2012, Subban was joined by his sons: PK, last season’s winner of the Norris trophy for the NHL’s best defenceman for his league play with the Montreal Canadiens; Malcolm, a goaltender drafted by the Boston Bruins; and Jordan, also a defenceman and drafted this year by the Vancouver Canucks. “Hockey has been a big part of our life. It has shaped us,” said Subban, who notes that sacrifices were made to keep his boys in hockey and send his girls to university. A program like Hyundai Hockey Helpers would have been a relief for his family back then. Being an educator and school administrator for decades, Subban knows that extracurricular activities – including hockey – can make a difference in the life of a child. “When kids are looking forward to doing something, they’re happier. The happier they are, the more productive they are,” he said. Subban brought hockey to two schools at which he taught but he is adamant the programs would not have been successful if not for the volunteers.
“If it wasn’t for the community that stepped up to help we wouldn’t have been able to engage as many kids as we did,” he said. Subban is a strong believer in community and it is this community support that attracted him to Hyundai Canada’s new program. “We know so many children aren’t playing hockey today, even if they want to play, because of the costs,” he said. That is the reason Hyundai Canada took up hockey as its cause, said Chad Heard, public relations manager with Hyundai Canada, out of Markham. “We looked around and we noticed that the cost of hockey was starting to rise and the accessibility of the sport was getting out of reach for a growing number of families,” he said “Organized hockey really teaches kids more than how to shoot a puck. It teaches teamwork, resiliency, dedication, and determination. Those are life skills that we saw this growing population missing out on.”
Hyundai approached KidSport and KidSport agreed to administer Hyundai’s efforts, dedicating the money the car dealership raised to all-things minor hockey. Fundraising by the five Hyundai dealerships in Calgary last October during the month-long campaign contributed to the worthy cause, helping 240 kids in the province lace up skates in 2012-2013. In total, close to 1,900 kids nation-wide got an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise. The response to the fundraising efforts has been “incredible,” said Heard. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything like this.” Heard is hoping to help 2,500 kids this season. Subban thinks the program can double the initial year’s numbers. Heard is pleased to have the support of the Subbans as spokespeople for Hyundai’s efforts. “We told them our story and they said, ‘Wow, that’s right up our alley.’ They were very much a family that could have used a grant like Hyundai Hockey Helpers program provides. So they’ve really lived and breathed that,” he said. “We are the face of the program. With PK being on TV almost daily and nightly, people associate him with the program and that brings a tremendous amount of attention to the program … He’s using that platform to get children in to the game, to help kids be better, to help kids fulfill their dreams,” said Subban. And that’s what it’s about for Hyundai Canada.
“It surprised us both in how well the program connects with Canadians in our dealership network, but more importantly, and maybe on the other side of the emotional ledger, is how much need there is out there,” said Heard. “If we can find a way to ease that, then we’re going to go for it.” Hockey Magazine
For this edition of the magazine, we met up with Brandon Perri, who starting officiating hockey at thirteen years old. Brandon (who is 16 now) is in grade 11, and is in his second year of midget. We met up with Brandon in late August, just prior to the hockey season, and he took the time to answer a few questions about himself, and what it’s like to be a minor hockey official. What other sports or activities do you participate in?
I play hockey myself and I also play on my high school rugby team. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.
By Rob Suggitt Photos provided by SC Parker Photography
What made you decide to be a hockey official?
I wanted to see the game from a different perspective and I wanted to meet new people who have the same interest in the game as I do. I also do it to help out the young players understand the game better.
How many games did you officiate last season?
I officiated a total of 73 games from October to April.
Approximately how many games do you plan on officiating this season?
I am hoping to officiate as many games as I can fit into my schedule.
What level of hockey are you currently officiating?
I officiate novice, atom, peewee girls and I am a linesman for bantam.
Do you have any highlights related to big games or tournaments to pass along? Any awards or achievements?
My first Minor Hockey Week game was a big moment, it was a novice game and was tied and went down to a one-on-one overtime. A player hooked the other and it left me with no choice but to call a penalty shot. Since any penalty in a one-on-one situation is a penalty shot. I was nervous because I never had to do that before and didn’t know what coaches and spectators would say and there were many people there watching the game.
What do you enjoy most about officiating hockey games?
The thing I enjoy is being assigned to do the early morning games with the younger kids. They are always so much fun when they are still so new to the game and learning.
What kind of training were/are you provided?
I was provided a two-day clinic when I started out, and each year there is a new clinic as rules may change and some of us need to brush up on the rules again.
Do you have a role model or mentor who has helped you along the way? How have you improved your skills as an official?
I would have to say I have two mentors, my dad and my grandpa. My dad has been coaching me since I first started playing hockey in pre-novice and my grandpa was a coach for many years and was also a scout for a high ranking Junior “A” team in Alberta. They are both very supportive and have not only helped me improve my hockey sense as a player but also help in how I see the game being played while I am on the ice as a ref.
What is the toughest part about being a referee?
The toughest part about being a referee is not being able to see everything around you. Something could happen behind you and you do not see it and then the parents and coaches start to get angry.
Ever suffer any injuries as an official? Any close calls?
I have never suffered any injuries besides getting the puck or a stick in the leg. Sometimes there are a few close calls and you just have to be careful.
How do you handle criticism on the ice?
When I’m on the ice and I hear criticism I would just go along with the game like I never even heard it. When I am off the ice I am always open to constructive criticism and i will take that feedback to help make myself a better ref.
Do you have comments you wish to share with parents, coaches or anyone watching minor hockey?
We are all out there to have fun. Coaches are out there to teach the players, the players are out there to learn and play, and fans are there to enjoy watching the game. We as refs are not perfect and we cannot see everything but we do try our best to be fair and call what we see as we see it.
CHECKING FROM BEHIND
If a player pushes, body-checks or cross-checks an opponent from behind, a checking from behind penalty may be called. It’s a game misconduct (ejection), coupled with a two-minute or fiveminute penalty, depending on the severity of the offense. The referee’s signal is a forward motion of both arms, with the palms of the hands opened and facing away from the body, fully extending from the chest at shoulder level.
BOARDING If a player is checked into the boards in a violent manner, then the ref may call a boarding penalty. A two-minute penalty will be assessed for boarding, and in situations where the offense is more serious (when a player is vulnerable, etc.), a five-minute major penalty and game ejection may be called.
CHECKING TO THE HEAD
A minor and misconduct penalty, or a major and game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the referee, based on the degree of violence of impact, shall be assessed to any player who checks an opponent to the head area in any manner. A match penalty could also be assessed under this rule. If a player is injured, a major and game misconduct penalty, or a match penalty must be assessed.
Body-checking is not allowed until the peewee level. Delivering a body-check in the lower divisions will result in a two-minute penalty being assessed.
When a player uses the shaft of his stick, held between the hands, to check an opponent at any height. The referee signals with a forward and backward motion of the arms with both fists clenched and about a foot apart. (This signal imitates the action of a cross-check.)
BUTT-ENDING If a player jabs (or attempts to jab) another player with the shaft of the stick above the upper hand, a butt-ending penalty may be called. The referee holds one forearm over the other; the lower is moved back and forth, across the body.
CHARGING If a player takes more than two steps or strides, or jumps into an opponent when body-checking, a charging infraction may be called. The referee signals by rotating clenched fists around each other in front of the chest. Since bodychecking isn’t allowed until the pee wee level, you will rarely see this called in the first few years.
ELBOWING This is when a player is checking an opponent with his elbow. The referee signals by tapping either elbow with the opposite hand.
HIGH-STICKING This occurs when checking an opponent with the stick above the normal height of the shoulders, either purposely or accidentally. A more severe penalty may be called for flagrant high-sticking fouls, including ejection from the game. The referee signals this call by clenching both fists and mimicking a player holding a stick above their shoulders.
HOLDING This is called when a player grabs an opponent’s body or stick with the hands. The referee motions this call by grabbing either wrist with the opposite hand in front of his body.
HOOKING This is called when a player slows down an opponent by hooking his stick on any part of the opponent’s body or stick. The referee signals this call with a tugging motion with both arms.
INTERFERENCE This penalty is called when a player impedes the progress of an opponent who doesn’t have the puck. The referee signals this call by crossing his arms in front of the chest.
KNEEING If a player uses his knee (or sticks his knee out) to take down or check an opponent, the referee may call a kneeing penalty. If the infraction is of a more serious nature, the referee may consider this a major penalty (and a game misconduct) instead of a minor penalty (two minutes).
This penalty may be called when a player exhibits extreme and inappropriate behaviour toward another player or a game official. Depending on the severity of the offense, the player may be given a 10-minute misconduct or game misconduct penalty. It is also a game misconduct when a player checks another player from behind. With the exception of checking from behind, the penalized team does not play shorthanded.
ROUGHING This penalty may be called when a player uses his arms or fists to hit or punch another player. The signal for this call is a clenched fist and arm extended out to the front or side of the body.
SLASHING This penalty is called when a player deliberately hits an opponent with his stick. The signal for this call is a chopping motion with the edge of one hand across the opposite forearm.
SPEARING Spearing occurs when a player thrusts or jabs the blade of his stick at an opponent. Players are usually ejected from the game for spearing. The signal for this call is a jabbing motion with both hands thrusting out in front of the body.
TRIPPING This penalty may be called when a player uses his stick or any body part to trip the puck carrier. If the player touches the puck prior to contact with the player, there is usually no penalty called. The referee signals this call by striking their leg with either hand below the knee (usually bending down to do so), keeping both skates on the ice.
UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT This penalty may be called when a player exhibits poor sportsmanship or inappropriate behaviour on the ice.