|College hockey officials announce Hockey East at Fenway||08.20.09 at 1:59 pm ET|
The proverbial cat has been out of the hockey bag for months now, but Hockey East made things official at Fenway Park Thursday morning when Commissioner Joe Bertagna announced a men’s and women’s college hockey doubleheader outdoors at Fenway Park on Friday, January 8.
Storied rivals Boston University and Boston College will play against each other in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. on a sure-to-be frigid evening, and the Northeastern University women’s team will host the University of New Hampshire at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. BC will be the home team hosting the Terriers at a regular hockey rink that will be set up past the pitcher’s mound in the infield and shallow outfield areas.
Representatives from the Red Sox, NESN, Hockey East, the NHL and the Boston Bruins were on hand to make the announcement, and everyone on hand was looking forward to playing some outdoor hockey under the lights. The collegiate game will make a nice, affordable alternative to the NHL/Bridgestone Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Fenway Park, and the tickets will go on sale at noon on Sept. 17 and range from $5-90 for the once-in-a-lifetime event.
“We had heard rumors about this during the summer, but I didn’t really get my hopes up until coach Parker told us it was 95 percent a few days ago,” said Boston University forward and San Jose Sharks sixth round pick Nick Bonino. “I’ve played some pond hockey under the floodlights before, but nothing like this. The conditions will be unbelievable and I’m sure it’s going to be really cold.
“All I could think of when I heard we were playing this game was the movie ‘Mystery, Alaska. I wish I had Sidney Crosby’s cell phone number so I could give him a call and get some advice about adjusting to the elements and snow in an outdoor game.”
While it’s doubtful that Bonino will be tracking down Sid the Kid’s digits anytime soon for a little one-on-one consultation, it is another feather in the cap of the celebrated careers of college hockey coaching legends Jack Parker and Jerry York. Parker has been a longtime Red Sox season ticket holder and had been trying to put together a BC/BU game with York for years, but offseason improvement work inside Fenway Park always seemed to impede a potential outdoor game.
“It’s amazing what can happen when the NHL gets involved, isn’t it?” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, who cracked that he had already consulted the Farmer’s Almanac to check the weather for the Friday night hockey game. “This is something that I think everyone in the league wanted to be a part of, and it’s really going to amount to a great experience for the student-athletes at BU, BC, UNH and Northeastern.”
According to Bertagna, event organizers have also left Saturday, Jan. 9, open in case there’s a blizzard or some other kind of crazy inclement weather in store for Friday night, and the games will be scheduled at the same times on Saturday if a postponement becomes necessary. The rink at Fenway will be fully constructed by mid-to-late December, and will stay intact diring the week between the Winter Classic game between the Bruins and Flyers on Jan. 1 and the college hockey doubleheader. It’s expected that public skating at Fenway will take place in the week between the Winter Classic game and the college hockey doubleheader.
Bruins representative Bob Sweeney also made mention of an alumni game during the announcement, which is an idea that was kicked around when the Winter Classic was announced in July at Fenway Park. Perhaps a game between a Boston Bruins legends team and a Philadelphia Flyers legend team full of the old Broad Street Bullies?
As mentioned before, tickets will go on sale Sept. 17 and can be purchased at www.tickets.com/fenwayhockey.
|National TV schedule for Bruins in 2009-10||08.19.09 at 8:49 pm ET|
Great job by the Puck the Media hockey blog to compile a list of all potential national TV hockey games for each NHL club next season. So here’s the schedule of 21 potential B’s games that will be covered by Versus, NBC, CBC or TSN/TSN2 next season. The Black and Gold could have as many as five games on NBC next season — with one of those obviously being the NHL/Bridgestone 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Here’s the complete schedule of TV hockey dates to circle on your pucks calendar.
Among the US hockey teams in the NHL, the 21 national TV games in the US and Canada ranks only behind the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals in terms of sheer number of potential dates.
NBC – 5
VERSUS – 7
CBC – 8
TSN/TSN2 – 8
Total – 21
Oct. 1 – vs. Washington, 7:00 PM (VERSUS)
Nov. 3 – at Detroit, 7:00 PM (VERSUS/TSN)
Nov. 5 – vs. Montreal, 7:00 PM (TSN)
Nov. 10 – vs. Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM (VERSUS/TSN)
Dec. 4 – at Montreal, 8:00 PM (CBC)
Dec. 5 – vs. Toronto, 7:00 PM (CBC)
Dec. 19 – at Toronto, 7:00 PM (CBC)
Jan. 1 – vs. Philadelphia, 1:00 PM (NBC/CBC)
Jan. 4 – at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM (VERSUS/TSN)
Jan. 23 – vs. Ottawa, 1:00 PM (CBC)
Jan. 24 – at Carolina, 12:30 PM (NBC)
Feb. 7 – at Montreal, 12:30/3:00 PM (NBC/CBC)
Mar. 4 – vs. Toronto, 7:00 PM (TSN)
Mar. 7 – at Pittsburgh, 12:30 PM (NBC)
Mar. 13 – at Montreal, 7:00 PM (CBC)
Mar. 15 – at New Jersey, 7:00 PM (VERSUS/TSN2)
Mar. 21 – vs. NY Rangers, 12:30 PM (NBC)
Mar. 29 – vs. Buffalo, 7:00 PM (VERSUS/TSN2)
Apr. 3 – at Toronto, 7:00 PM (CBC)
Apr. 5 – at Washington, 7:00 PM (VERSUS/TSN)
Apr. 11 – at Washington, TBD (NBC)
|Yelle signs a one-year deal with Hurricanes||08.19.09 at 11:43 am ET|
The brief Bruins career of veteran center Stephane Yelle came to a close on Wednesday afternoon as the 35-year-old signed a one-year, $550,000 deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. Yelle totalled 7 goals and 11 assists with the Bruins last season in 77 games skating with the checking lines, but B’s GM Peter Chiarelli had indicated that Yelle was likely moving on after Boston had signed Steve Begin to a one-year deal.
Yelle will join defenseman Aaron Ward in Carolina, as the B’s blueliner was also dealt to the Canes — the team that ended Boston’s playoff run last year — this summer. Yelle was a valued penalty-killer and faceoff specialist for Boston after signing a late summer deal with the Bruins just prior to training camp last season.
|Team USA invitees donate youth hockey equipment||08.18.09 at 6:48 pm ET|
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.
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||08.18.09 at 11:59 am ET|
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||08.17.09 at 1:07 pm ET|
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||08.14.09 at 6:34 pm ET|
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.
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