Archive for August, 2009

Team USA invitees donate youth hockey equipment

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

As part of the Team USA Olympic hockey team orientation camp taking place in Woodridge, Ill., this week, each of the 34 National Hockey League players attending attending the camp this week will donate 15 sets of OneGoal starter equipment to a lucky youth hockey organization of their choice. The equipment was purchased by the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), through its Goals & Dreams fund, in cooperation with USA Hockey and OneGoal.

As part of the Tuesday afternoon announcement at the orientation camp, 35 children had the opportunity to use OneGoal equipment and play hockey for the first time with a group of Olympic hopeful heroes.

“We’d like to thank the NHLPA for its gift of equipment to our local programs,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “Their generosity helps further opportunities for young children to try our great sport without financial duress.”

“NHLPA members are very proud to be involved with this initiative,” said Paul Kelly, NHLPA executive director. “The players’ Goals & Dreams program is focused on providing future generations with the opportunity to play the great game of hockey, so this is a fitting collaboration with OneGoal and USA Hockey.”

Listed below are the NHL players attending USA Hockey’s Men’s Olympic Orientation Camp and the programs they’ve designated to receive their 15 sets of OneGoal starter equipment — including Bruins players Phil Kessel and Tim Thomas. Both B’s players donated the hockey equipment to youth organizations from their hometown stomping grounds with Kessel donating to the Madison Capitals in Madison, Wi., and Thomas donating his share of hockey stuff to the Flint Icelanders of Flint, Mi.

Ron Hainsey, Jonathan Quick and Chris Drury all donated hockey equipment to younth hockey groups in Connecticute, and Massachusetts native and BU alum Ryan Whitney donated his allottment of equipment to South Boston Youth Hockey.

ABOUT THE NHLPA’S GOALS & DREAMS FUND

In 1999, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. The players’ program has donated full sets of hockey equipment to more than 13,000 economically disadvantaged children in 19 countries and assisted with upgrades and the building of hundreds of arenas world-wide. To date, Goals & Dreams has donated more than $17-million to grassroots hockey programs around the world making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA and the Goals & Dreams fund, visit www.nhlpa.com.

ABOUT ONEGOAL

OneGoal is a nonprofit organization founded by the major hockey equipment manufacturers, with support from USA Hockey, the NHL, the NHLPA, Hockey Canada and the NHL Alumni Association. Its goal is to positively affect the growth of hockey, particularly at entry level ages (four-to-eight year-olds). OneGoal seeks to accomplish its goals through media campaigns that provide visibility and key messaging for hockey and also through its OneGoal starter equipment program.

Each set of starter equipment includes a helmet with face shield, chest protector, elbow pads, gloves, pants and shin pads. Youth organizations and rinks are able to purchase the OneGoal starter equipment sets at a minimal cost and lend them to prospective entry level players to significantly reduce the cost to try the sport. For more information, visit OneGoal.com.

Organizations Designated To Receive OneGoal Equipment 
David Backes, Spring Lake Park Youth Hockey, Blaine, Minn.
David Booth, Hockey Ministries International, Montreal, Que.
Dustin Brown, Ithaca Youth Hockey Association, Ithaca, N.Y.
Dustin Byfuglien, Roseau Youth Hockey, Roseau, Minn.
Ryan Callahan, Rochester Youth Hockey, Rochester, N.Y.
Chris Drury, Wonderland Wizards, Orange, Conn.
Tom Gilbert, Bloomington Jefferson Youth Hockey, Bloomington, Minn.
Tim Gleason, Honeybaked, Farmington Hills, Mich.
Scott Gomez, Scott Gomez Foundation, Anchorage, Alaska
Ron Hainsey, Eastern Connecticut Hockey Organization, Manchester, Conn.
Erik Johnson, Bloomington Athletic Hockey Association, Bloomington, Minn.
Jack Johnson, Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Patrick Kane, Cazenovia Park Hockey Association, Buffalo, N.Y.
Ryan Kesler, Livonia Hockey Association, Livonia, Mich.
Phil Kessel, Madison Capitals, Madison, Wis.
Mike Komisarek, Suffolk P.A.L., Hauppauge, N.Y.
Jamie Langenbrunner, Cloquet Hockey Association, Cloquet, Minn.
Ryan Malone, TBA, TBA
Paul Martin, Elk River Youth Hockey Association, Elk River, Minn.
Ryan Miller, Great Lansing Amateur Hockey Association, Lansing, Mich.
Mike Modano, Junior Stars Hockey Association, Dallas, Texas
Kyle Okposo, Highland Central Association, St. Paul, Minn.
Brooks Orpik, Hockey in the Hood, Sewickley, Pa.
T.J. Oshie, Warroad Youth Hockey, Warroad, Minn.
Zach Parise, Highland Central Association, St. Paul, Minn.
Joe Pavelski, Portage County Youth On Ice, Stevens Point, Wis.
Jonathan Quick, Hamden Youth Hockey, Hamden, Conn.
Brian Rafalski, Wyandotte Youth Hockey, Wyandotte, Mich.
Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Junior Ducks, Anaheim, Calif.
Rob Scuderi, Freeport Arrows, Bellmore, N.Y.
Paul Stastny, Chesterfield Hockey Association, Chesterfield, Mo.
Ryan Suter, Madison Capitals, Madison, Wis.
Tim Thomas, Flint Icelanders, Flint, Mich.
Ryan Whitney, South Boston Youth Hockey, South Boston, Mass.

Thomas and Kessel commence Team USA tryouts

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Tim Thomas and unsigned sniper Phil Kessel are the only two Bruins representatives attending Team USA Orientation Camp this week at the Seven Bridges Arena in Woodridge, Il. — and both players were among the 34 skaters invited to appear Monday for workouts and team-bonding exercises leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Kessel, a restricted free agent without arbitration rights, is mired in a contract stalemate with the B’s that clearly isn’t headed for a quick ending. The increasingly rare chance that another team swoops in with a $4-5 million per year offer sheet for Kessel could change the tenor of negotiations, or the 21-year-old winger could drop all contractual demands and agree to something in the neighborhood of David Krejci money (three years for $3.75 per year).

Unless either of those things happen — and both seem to have long shot chances of happening — then it could be an address-changing trade that ends up shifting some movement from one or both sides, as Kessel clearly wants his contract situation resolved before the NHL regular season begins in October.

In some interesting comments made to the USA Today’s Kevin Allen on Monday, Kessel said that he fully expects to be signed — one way or the other — by the time the regular season begins on Oct. 1. There had been some speculation that last season’s 36-goal scorer would be A) out until December with rotator cuff/labrum surgery on his right shoulder and B) could hold out until Dec. 1 before finalizing his contract.

Kessel put that notion to bed on Monday, and said that he intends to be ready for game-action by early-to-mid November. According to the player, he already has 95 percent strength in his shoulder. and should be ready to skate some time in September. 

The young B’s winger also admitted that the two sides are in something of a “stalemate”, but that some kind of resolution will be made when the NHL season commences on Oct. 1. It’s been a very civilized negotiation between agent Wade Arnott and B’s GM Peter Chiarelli thus far, and Chiarelli has already made statements that Kessel will be returning to Boston next season barring an outlandish offer sheet from another NHL team. To this date, there hasn’t been one offer sheet given to an RFA player this summer.

“It’s at a stalemate and I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Kessel said to the USA Today. “…I think it could go either way at this point.”

Is there a date that Kessel expects to sign by?

“There is no date,” Kessel said to the USA Today. “Either way it will get done before the season for sure.”

Fellow 21-year-old young gun Anze Kopitar struck it rich with the LA Kings for a multi-year deal that’s going to pay him $6.8 million per season for the next seven years, but a better comp for Kessel continues to be Florida Panthers forward David Booth. Booth has similar service time and stats to Kessel, and inked a market-setting six-year, $25.5 million deal this summer as a restricted free agent.

The cap hit amounts to $4.25 million per season for the Panthers, and that is exactly what just about every hockey observer outside the negotiations felt that the young B’s superstar would eventually settle in for. It remains to be seen when that actually happens, but it’s safe to say it’ll be in September if Kessel has his druthers.

Winter Classic ticket drawing for public on Sept. 15

Monday, August 17th, 2009

The much-anticipated 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Fenway Park has already sparked huge interest from fans yearning for tickets, and the NHL announced Tuesday afternoon that a ticket drawing for the general public will take place on Sept. 15 at noon.

 The drawing, which will randomly pick lucky fans as ticket winners, will come to a close on Oct. 5 at 11:59 a.m. after everyone has had a chance to enter the ticket derby. Winners will be notified by Oct. 20 and allowed to buy one pair of tickets — with prices ranging from $50-$350 depending on the seats chosen at Fenway.

 It’s expected that the Fenway upper level seats will be the most expensive of the bunch, just as those particular seats were at Wrigley last January. The ticket drawing will be hosted exclusively through the NHL.com website, but interested fans should stay tuned for any more details concerning ticket prices and availability for pucks on ice at the Fens moving forward.

Season-ticket owners for the Bruins and Flyers will receive notification in late August concerning the process of buying Winter Classic tickets, and every full season ticket holder is guaranteed a chance to purchase tickets. Given that over 200,000 people entered the ticket drawing for the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field last season, there’s going to be a pretty healthy amount of luck involved for those hoping to win their way into watching the Bruins skate at Fenway.

Fans seeking information about a chance to win the right to purchase tickets to the 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic® can sign up at www.nhl.com/winterclassic to receive detailed alerts regarding the NHL Winter Classic — for example, how and when to register for the opportunity to get their hands on the hottest tickets in hockey.

The NHL also announced that it again will make a certain number of tickets available for local youth hockey groups in Boston. This year, the Boston Bruins Foundation will coordinate the youth hockey initiative ticket drawing for young hockey fans in the greater Boston area. The B’s will release details later this month on the community program.

NHL to make Winter Classic ticket announcement Monday

Friday, August 14th, 2009
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will bring Winter Classic ticket info to the fans Monday at noon

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will bring Winter Classic ticket info to the fans Monday at noon

The NHL made an announcement prior to the announcement on Friday afternoon regarding “important information for all fans interested in the 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic.”  The substantive announcement will take place Monday at approximately noontime, and will include ticket information for fans interested in attending the Jan. 1 Winter Classic game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park.

The “mystery” announcement will be posted at www.nhl.com/winterclassic at noon on Monday. Bruins full-season ticket holders have already been guaranteed a chance to obtain tickets to the once-in-a-lifetime hockey event at the Fens.

NHL officials said at the time of the Winter Classic announcement at Fenway that tickets information would be released in August, and there’s expected to be very few — if any — individual tickets available for sale to the general public that aren’t presently Bruins full-season ticket holders. The initial Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium could hold upwards of 70,000 fans, and was the only one of the three classics that could feature a large public sale of tickets.

The NHL sold 41,818 tickets to the Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings last season ranged in a three-tiered price package between $75-325, and it’s expected that the Fenway Winter Classic tix will be roughly around that same range. The most expensive tickets at Wrigley Field were, of course, the seats up in the higher deck that provided the best bird’s eye view of the ice from above.

The timing of the BU/BC hockey game announcement just days after the Winter Classic ticket package reveal is interesting. The people behind the outdoor college hockey game are expecting to draw interest from many of the hardcore Boston hockey fans that are shut out of the NHL Winter Classic, and could give them a chance to experience outdoor hockey at Fenway for a fraction of the price.

The Jan. 8 college hockey doubleheader at the Fens — featuring BC vs. BU in the nightcap and an earlier women’s matchup of UNH vs. Northeastern – is sure to be a much more affordable event for families and non-season ticket holders.  Prices for the college hockey double-dip ducats should range more in the $25-100 area — a much easier nut to crack than the pricier NHL tickets — for that rare puck experience on Yawkey Way.

Hockey East officials to announce outdoor games at Fenway

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Hockey East officials along with coaches and athletes from Boston College, Boston University, the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University are planning to hold an Aug. 20 press conference at Fenway Park, according to a release sent out by Hockey East on Wednesday afternoon.

As previously reported on WEEI.com, BU and BC are slated to tangle in an outdoor hockey game at Fenway Park on Jan. 8 and the UNH and NU women’s teams are also expected to announce an outdoor hockey game at Fenway Park as well. Both games will be made official at the Fenway press conference. College officials are expecting that the two college hockey games will be an excellent option for those not able to procure tickets to the Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Bruins and Flyers on New Year’s Day.

For those wondering, it’ll be an 8 p.m. start and Boston College will be the home team for the Friday Night hockey tilt under the lights at Fenway. Boston University and Boston College play each other three times during the Hockey East regular season with each team taking turns with the “extra” home game, and this season was the Eagles’ turn to have an extra home game. So BC head coach Jerry York and his BC Eagles will give up their additional game at Kelly Rink, and instead play the Jan. 8 game at the Fens.

Bruins’ top pick Caron breaks collarbone

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

According to a report on TSN, Boston Bruins first round Jordan Caron broke his collarbone Saturday while playing in the first intrasquad game during tryouts for Canada’s junior hockey team entry for the World Juniors tournament. The tryout camp is taking place in Saskatoon, and Caron was stretching out for a pass when he was flattened by Regina Pats defenseman Colen Tuebert at the blue line.

A broken collarbone takes roughly 6-8 weeks to heal up, so the injury may put Caron in danger of falling behind amid his first B’s training camp in September. Caron had impressed Bruins officials during July’s prospect development camp with his skill level, size and strength on the puck.

 “We saw him this morning. He didn’t look too great,” fellow Team Canada hopeful Ryan Ellis told TSN on Sunday. “He was in a lot of pain.”

Individual Bruins tix for 2009-10 season go on sale Aug. 20

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Another sign popped up on Wednesday afternoon that hockey is slowly and surely wending its way back to the Hub . The Boston Bruins have posted information about purchasing individual tickets for the 2009-10 season, and those ticket sales will begin on Aug. 20. Individual tix for Bruins games played at the TD Garden during the 2009-10 preseason and regular season will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. at the TD Garden Box Office and online at www.bostonbruins.com

For games played at the TD Garden, tickets will range in price from $10.00 – $289.50. In addition to seat location, ticket prices will vary depending on opponent and date of game. Please note that ticket prices are subject to change by the Bruins. It should also be noted that the individual season ticket sales do not include any tickets to the NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway on Jan. 1. Those tix are reserved for season ticket-holders only.

The Bruins and Tufts Medical Center have partnered for the second consecutive year to offer reduced priced tickets in the Tufts Medical Center Family Section for every home game at the TD Garden. Tickets in the Family Section – located in Balcony Section 326, rows 3-15 – start at $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children 14 and under. Family Section tickets for preseason games in September and regular season games in October will be available for purchase on Thursday, August 20, while Family Section tickets for the remainder of the team’s home games will be put on sale at a later date. Discounted balcony tickets in the Bruins Student Section will be available to students for a limited number of games as well.
 
A limited number of Bruins season tickets are also still available for purchase at the present time. These season ticket plans include access to tickets for the Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park between the B’s and the Philadelphia Flyers on January 1, 2010. For information on how to become a season ticket holder, call 617.624.BEAR (2327) or visit the team website at www.bostonbruins.com.

Prior to August 20, there will be an exclusive presale for fans who join the Bruins’ Cybear Club, which is the team’s official eNewsletter and online source for breaking news. For more information on the presale and how to join the Cybear Club, visit www.bostonbruins.com. Fans interested in learning more about Boston Bruins players, or ticket options, should visit the team website at www.bostonbruins.com or call 617.624.BEAR (2327).