Category Archives: Hockey

Underdog Receives First National Title: Providence Friars

April 14, 2015

By Ellen Chlumecky

The Providence Friars 2014-2015 hockey team was the key definition of “the underdogs.” The Friars were the 15th seed going into the 2015 NCAA men’s hockey national tournament. The Providence Friars squeezed into the NCAA Tournament by the skin of their teeth. The last time the Friars had even made an appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four was in 1985, which was thirty years ago. Now the Providence Friars can finally claim the national title as their own.

While I would never try to rob the Friars of what they earned and the hard work they committed to in each game, they owe a great deal of their fortune to Boston University’s goalie’s unbelievably fluky goal. This is what gave Providence the chance to come back. The game had 8:36 left in regulation when Providence junior defenseman Tom Parisi lofted a high dump in from center ice that headed towards Boston University’s junior goaltender Matt O’Connor. O’Connor followed the puck and it struck the heel of his catching glove. It seemed like he had made a routine save. However, his glove dropped toward the ice and so did the puck, which rolled between his legs. While O’Connor tried to grab it, he knocked the puck into his own net which turned a 3-2 Terriers’ lead into a 3-3 tie.

The Friars scored another goal within a 2:19 span in the third period to tie and eventually secure a 4 to 3 win over Boston University at TD Garden. Providence College’s head coach Nate Leaman said, “I thought it’s kind of a little bit like our season: we started a little bit slow, but we got better and better. And we played a pretty good third period and obviously got a big bounce that I think got our bench alive a little bit.” Providence came in as underdogs and showed everyone they were worthy of the national title by humiliating every team that had held the title years before.

Boston University’s storybook ending was quickly denied in those last few minutes of regulation. This would have been Boston University’s sixth national championship. While I’m sure Providence upset a massive amount of hockey fans’ brackets, they raised the hopes of Providence students and fans. Providence earned their way to the Frozen Four with a wild 7 to 5 win over Miami, a 4 to 1 win over Denver, then massacred Nebraska-Omaha in a 4 to 1 in the semifinal. Providence has become the third-straight first time champion in the NCAA Frozen Four.

 

How ‘Bout Them Falcons?!

By Kaleb Page

January 22, 2015

College hockey is something that has a select few college towns captivated every season and as this very season starts to hit the home stretch there is a team that should have its town at full attention.

The Bowling Green Falcons hockey team started this season with potential of being a great one. With leadership from seniors Dan DeSalvo, Adam Berkle, Rusty Hafner, Mike Sullivan, Connor Kucera and Ted Pletsch this team had a solid core that could keep the team together and fulfill that potential. Potential to be a great team is something nice to have in mind, but does it really settle any match out on the ice? (<<

Having a great group of senior leaders is needed for a majority of teams no matter what the sport. However, there needs to be younger guys that come in to infuse the team with new energy along with providing an exciting look to the future for falcon hockey.  Like freshman goaltender Chris Snell who averages only 1.74 goals allowed per game (save percentage of .937) and an impressive 6-1-1 record when starting in the net (wins-losses-ties). It can be seen elsewhere with sophomore forward Kevin Dufour who has 10 goals and five assists on the season including three power-play goals and a game winner. There are many more cases with this team where freshman, sophomores and even juniors are making huge strides to improve this team.

This season has seen this team soar to new heights with a record of 14-4-4 (10-2-2 in conference play). To this point in the season there has not been a losing streak longer than a game and with such a hard-working team there has been recognition nationally.

This falcons hockey team as of this moment sits at #6 in the nation and third in the WCHA conference only behind the number one team in the country Minnesota State and the 11th ranked Michigan Tech Huskies (BGSU has played fewer games to this point than those two schools). This team has made a drastic climb from when this season started.

The team began the year un-ranked, then as things moved along and the team proved its worth; the move up the charts was unstoppable. From week to week the falcons were on the move from 25 to 17 to 13 to 11 to 7 and now to 6.

The town of Bowling Green and its campus should really get behind this team, and watch what could be a team that has a real legitimate chance to bring home a national title. I was there for the tough 3-2 loss to Ohio State that had a packed “Madhouse on Mercer,” the largest crowd ever at a game with 5,031 people in attendance and I think it should be like that almost every night this team is home.

It’s time to recognize what is going on here and to give this team more praise/coverage they deserve. It will be interesting to see when the season ends what this team will do in tournament play. Either way, this team has proven it belongs in the conversation with elite clubs in the college circuit this season.

Roll Along BG Hockey!

Mumps Affecting Not Only the NHL

By Savannah Malnar

Flu outbreaks aren’t uncommon around this time of the year in professional sports leagues. What is uncommon is the appearance of the mumps in the NHL. Professional athletes are forced to spend an excessive amount of time together in close contact, between sharing rooms on road trips and water bottles in the locker rooms. So when a contagious illness hits one player, it’s likely to spread throughout the team. The interesting aspect about these illnesses is that in the NHL they can spread pretty easily to other teams as well, with all the hard hits and the fighting bringing rival players into physical contact.

The outbreak of the disease started in Anaheim with the defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Clayton Stoner, along with star forward Corey Perry. Other teams that have since reported cases include the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The NHL is doing everything in its power to bring awareness to the disease and ensure that the players have access to booster shots or the initial mumps immunization if they did not receive it as a child.

The media’s primary concern right now seems to be the quality of the game with a disease like this going around. What will the Penguins do without Sidney Crosby while he recovers? Did the Ducks lose games they could have won if Perry wasn’t ill?

One ESPN article brought attention to a less talked about side of the epidemic; the American Hockey League. The AHL is a development league for the NHL, and players move up and down between the leagues on daily basis. Two players and one head coach in the AHL have come down with this sickness. The total amount of hockey players affected is up to 18.

Dr. Gregory Poland, the director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group, believes that this outbreak is not actually all that uncommon. “To be very frank with you, if 13 students at a junior college in rural Arizona had mumps, you and I wouldn’t be talking. It gets hyped because it’s in (professional athletes),” Poland said. Poland also stressed making sure all players receive the immunization they need; from there it’s just a waiting game. There are no cures or antibiotics available for the disease, so hockey players will just have to do what they do best: tough it out.

Slava Voynov’s Domestic Violence Case Worse Than Expected

By Savannah Malnar

When defenseman Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings was initially arrested on domestic violence charges and suspended indefinitely by the NHL in late October, the media didn’t have a lot of information on the case. Voynov and his wife both claimed it was an “accident,” but the case still went to court.

Fast forward roughly two months to Voynov’s preliminary hearing on Monday. In this hearing, what at first seemed like a possible misunderstanding became much worse. A police officer offered his testimony to the case; apparently, Voynov had pushed his wife to the ground multiple times, kicked her, choked her multiple times, and pushed her into a television which caused a gash above her eye requiring stitches.

Pretty bad, right? The people in the sport media largely agree. Big names such as Yahoo! Sports and the Bleacher Report say it like it is, calling the incident “shocking,” “bloody,” and “horrifying.” An article in the Bleacher Report praised the NHL for its initial suspension, along with its decision to fine the LA Kings $100,000 when they violated suspension protocol and allowed the defenseman to take part in a practice with the team. The NHL’s lack of toleration for both the suspected domestic violence and violation of suspension protocol shows their dedication to ensuring a high standard of how the players act off the ice. This reflects good on the league in comparison to the NFL’s mishandling of the Ray Rice case.

While the large national media outlets highlighted the moral aspect of Voynov’s case and suspension, a more local source, the LA Times, stayed completely objective on that front. In comparison to the headlines “NHL’s Hard Line with Slava Voynov Remains Justified as Horrible Details Emerge” (Bleacher Report) and “Slava Voynov kicked, choked, bloodied wife according to police” (Yahoo! Sports), the LA Times headline was simply “Domestic violence case against Slava Voynov will proceed, judge rules.” This is an extremely stark difference and reflects the habits of local sources tending to be less critical of athletes in these sorts of situations.

With domestic abuse becoming a hot topic in the sports world, both the league itself and the hockey media must be sensitive to the broad audience that the sport invites. Even with the LA Times remaining objective, the media and the NHL have done a good job so far showing this sort of behavior by a player is unacceptable and disappointing.

Record Setting Day in the American Hockey League

By Alex O’Connor

On Saturday, the Syracuse Crunch played the Utica Comets in the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University. The game was known as the “Frozen Dome Classic” and was the first of its kind in the American Hockey League. The Carrier Dome is not a hockey facility and was an event that could expand the horizons for the AHL. With the recent successes of outdoor games in the NHL, the AHL tried something just slightly different. The Syracuse Crunch currently play at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena in downtown Syracuse, where the game was originally supposed to be held. This new event created positive media buzz for local and national reporters, and was generally raved as a solid and successful debut event.

As the event reached national attention, NHL.com has taken notice. Reporter Kinsey Janke noted that there have been several games outdoors in non-hockey facilities, but none that would be played indoors at a non-hockey facility. Crunch owner Howard Dolgon noted that “The chance to be the first hockey game in the Dome and strive to break not only the AHL record but the U.S. professional indoor record, that really drove us to move ahead with this.” The Carrier Dome has the capacity to exceed 49,000 occupants and would easily break the previous record of outdoor and non traditional games at a mark of 45,653 set by a game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. The final attendance mark for this game was 30,715. The implications of this number is that the Crunch-Comets game broke the indoor record for most fans at a professional hockey game. This mark broke the record set by the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 1996. However, this did not break the attendance mark for most fans at the Carrier Dome, which occurred last February when Duke played Syracuse in Men’s Basketball.

The main benefit from the event was to enhance the name of the Syracuse Crunch. Due to the increased media reflection with NHL.com and NBCSports.com, Dolgon has accomplished his mission of pioneering a new venue for an indoor hockey event. In addition, the local community benefited tremendously for having the opportunity to partake in an event that has never once been done before. There has always been a desire to implement new strategies to enhance an already desired commodity, and I believe that Howard Dolgon, the Crunch organization and the University of Syracuse made this possible and ran with that idea.

Hockey Hall of Fame Being Globalized

By Ellen Chlumecky

On Monday, November 17th, the Class of 2014 was ushered into the Hockey Hall of Fame. These four players from four different countries each played a major role in an important international game which is why they were being honored with this highly esteemed awards. The four former athletes were Peter Forsberg of team Sweden, Mike Modano of team United States, Dominik Hasek of team Czech Republic, and Rob Blake of team Canada.

Peter Forsberg helped team Sweden win gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. Mike Modano helped the United States team win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Dominik Hasek helped the Czech Republic team win gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics while also earning tournament MVP honors. Rob Blake helped team Canada achieve a victory at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics after receiving losses in the past three tournaments. These four athletes spent their entire careers working towards greatness and on Friday they were acknowledged not only for their individual team effort but for their international team effort as well.

Not only were these athletes recognized, but a special group of broadcast journalists as well. Pat Foley, of the Chicago Blackhawks, received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. Kevin Allen received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism. Coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary also received awards for their dedication to the sport and were inducted into their career category.

Not only is it a huge honor for the National Hockey League to have these amazing athletes in their organization, it is a huge advancement for hockey in general because of the coverage this special event received. The induction ceremony was broadcasted live not only throughout Canada but also through North America. While it was not broadcasted on every major sports channel in the US, it received an immense amount of coverage by the NHL Network.

This particular Hall of Fame class was immensely showed how the globalization of hockey has increased in the past few years. The athletes inducted were not just from the United States and Canada, but from the Czech Republic and Sweden as well. To have four players from four different countries has shown the importance that hockey is making on the world. This class of 2014 has shown the globalization of hockey is spreading even faster than we had originally thought.

I have said it before and I will say it again, hockey is an amazing sport that requires physical and mental toughness. It takes a great deal of skill, endurance, and passion to play hockey and these four men who received awards on Friday are just some of the few that we are so immensely proud of in the NHL. It makes me so happy to see the recognition of these athletes and broadcasters and it makes me even happier to see the diverse coverage of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Trouble On Tinder

By Kate Roth

In the past few years social media has emerged as one of the top go to methods for retrieving any sort of news around the world, including sports. No matter what sport you are interested in, there is always something happening on social media to keep you updated with your favorite teams and players. Often fans can even stay connected with the players by following their personal social media sites.

This has proven to be both good and bad for athletes. Yes it is great for them to be able to share some their personal life with their fans, but social media can also lead to negative situations for athletes all too often.

Twitter and Facebook seem to be the normal sites that we find athletes getting themselves in trouble with by their comments, but now even the popular social media dating app, Tinder is causing some trouble for two young athletes.

Greg Betzold and Jake Marchment two young players both only 19 years old playing in the Ontario Hockey League, part of the junior Canadian Hockey League, have found themselves suspended for 15 games after sending abusive comments to women through the social media site.

The two players who originally though the conversations they were having would stay private, quickly saw them go public all over the news after the women took screen shots of their conversations and posted them online for all to see.

Once the OHL was informed of these incidents they acted quickly and informed the players, teams and press that even though these were private actions in the two players lives it was still unacceptable behavior and they would have to serve a 15-game suspension as consequence.

Betzold and Marchment took their own private Twitter accounts to apologize for their actions. Both stated that they wanted to make clear that they thought these were private conversations, but none the less it was childish and unacceptable behavior.

With the amount of off-field drama that college, semi-professional and professional sports have had this year, it is clear to see why the OHL acted so quickly.  Not only did the league serve up a pretty heavy suspension for first time offenders, they also made sure to alert the media of the issue right away and assure them that the situation was being handled by the league.

The OHL is a league designed to develop young players as they prepare to enter into the NHL. By acting quickly on this situation and making an example out of these two players, the OHL is showing that they care about their players and are there to help develop them not only as players, but also as young men.

Hopefully other athletes, especially young ones, can learn from the mistakes made by these two players and all other players who have found themselves in some trouble through their actions on social media. While it can be a great way to stay connected to the fans, the athletes need to know their limits and realize that nothing they post on any of these sites is private.