Tag Archives: Ice Hockey

Where do the NHL & the Chicago Blackhawks go from here?

Jenner & Block LLP released the lengthy results of their investigation into allegations that Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich assaulted prospect Kyle Beach during the 2010 season. The allegations surfaced during their second-round series against Vancouver and Conference Final series against San Jose. Instead of making the allegations public and protecting the life of a young, promising hockey player, the executives and coaching staff decided to prioritize their playoff run. After submitting a lawsuit in May 2021, the Blackhawks launched an investigation into their handling of the allegations. Following the release of the Jenner & Block investigation, Kyle Beach came forward on a TSN interview to speak about the life-changing consequences that resulted from this terrible incident.

Three weeks ago, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with Kyle Beach over Zoom. Susan Loggins, Beach’s attorney, said Bettman offered Beach help during their call, including therapy and psychological assistance. He also met with the Blackhawks on November 2 and spoke with Don Fehr, the executive director of the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association). The NHL fined the Chicago Blackhawks $2 million on Tuesday for, according to CNN, “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response.”

Around the league, executives and coaches from the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks team are facing harsh punishments for the cover-up. However, the NHL decided not to discipline Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Chelyeldayoff though he was assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks when the allegations surfaced. He met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on October 29. According to ESPN, the NHL “concluded that Cheveldayoff was not responsible for the improper decisions made by the Chicago Blackhawks related to the Brad Aldrich matter in 2010, which decisions resulted in the Club’s delayed and inadequate response to a report of serious, inappropriate conduct as between Aldrich and the Blackhawk’s prospect, Kyle Beach.” Cheveldayoff was present at a meeting on May 23, 2010, where executives and coaching staff discussed and decided to cover up the allegations. 

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“While on some level, it would be easiest to paint everyone with any association to this terrible matter with some broad brush, I believe that fundamental fairness requires a more in-depth analysis of the role of each person. Kevin Cheveldayoff was not a member of the Blackhawks senior leadership team in 2010, and I cannot, therefore, assign to him responsibility, for the Club’ actions, or inactions. He provided a full account of his degree of involvement in the matter, which was limited exclusively to his attendance at a single meeting, and I found him to be extremely forthcoming and credible in our discussion.” With that said, Stan Bowman, general manager of the Blackhawks, and Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Florida Panthers and former head coach of the Blackhawks, resigned after pressure from the NHL.

Sadly, following Brad Aldrich’s exit from the Blackhawks, his horrible actions continued. In 2012 and 2018, sexual assault allegations against Aldrich surfaced from Miami (OH) University while he worked there. He went to Miami after leaving the Blackhawks but resigned after four months with the university. Excluding these allegations, Aldrich served nine months in prison after having sexual contact with a student at a Michigan high school. 

Within the National Hockey League, Don Fehr and the Players Association approved an independent investigation into their handling of the allegations. Fehr held a call between players and the league because the players were concerned about the handling of the situation. Beach contacted the NHLPA in 2010 and received no response from leadership.

Two weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune quoted Kyle Beach from his TSN interview: “I know I reported every single detail to an individual at the NHLPA, who I was put in contact with after. I believe two different people talked to Don Fehr. And for him to turn his back on the players when his one job is to protect the players at all costs, I don’t know how that can be your leader. I don’t know how he can be in charge.” According to the Tribune, Beach spoke with a doctor at the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, which should have resulted in further action in 2010. 

Finally, Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, wrote a letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame suggesting the removal of Brad Aldrich’s name from the Stanley Cup. On November 3, the Hockey Hall of Fame crossed out his name while adding the 2020-21 Tampa Bay Lightning to the trophy.

“While nothing can undo what he did, leaving his name on the most prestigious trophy in sports seems profoundly wrong,” Wirtz wrote in his letter.

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Stemming from the fan outrage directed at Gary Bettman, the NHL took more action than I thought they would. However, they need to do more to protect the players, and punishments need to be more serious to help prevent this from happening again. Ten years ago, the New Jersey Devils circumvented the salary cap by signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a massive 17-year, $102 million contract. The NHL fined New Jersey $3 million and rescinded a first and third-round draft selection. Also, last season, the NHL stripped the Arizona Coyotes of a 2020 second-round and 2021 first-round draft pick for breaking a scouting rule. I find it outrageous that the NHL subjected a more significant punishment for cap circumvention and illegal scouting than covering up a sexual assault and endangering the life of a young man. $2 million, especially for a Chicago Blackhawks team worth $1.1 billion, is a slap on the wrist. The NHL is famous for delivering cheap fines, especially to players, where penalties for serious offenses can range from only $2,500 to $5,000.

It seems Gary Bettman’s philosophy as commissioner is to keep his job for as long as he can. By delivering cheap punishments, he stays in his position and keeps the owners happy. Before the present-day NHL, where free agency did not exist and owners had complete control over their players, the commissioner did whatever the owners wanted. There was not a players’ association nor another league for them to play in. The NHL owned its players and made money off them to play hockey in the greatest league in the world. However, in 1972, two businessmen founded the World Hockey Association as the most significant competitor to the NHL. Though it folded after eight seasons, it forced the NHL to implement free agency and spread money between the owners and players. Still, the NHL is run the same way, with the commissioner doing what the owners want while angering the players to a point where there is nothing they can do. The fan outrage toward Gary Bettman is for a reason, yet the NHL owners will not do their job and vote him out.

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Other than that, the Blackhawks and other organizations have done their jobs to remove the 2010 executives from the league. Stan Bowman resigned as the Blackhawks general manager and president of the 2022 US Olympic men’s hockey team. Also, the Florida Panthers fired Joel Quenneville from his head coaching position, hopefully completely ridding him of another head coaching job. The only position left intact is Jonathan Toews as captain of the Blackhawks. Though a young man—he was only twenty-two at the time—the Blackhawks should not have named him captain if he did not have the leadership skills to step up in a challenging situation. If Beach’s allegations of verbal assault in the locker room are true, Toews must have known about it and decided to let it go. He should have gathered the team together and rallied around Beach to make the allegations widely known. It is challenging to place a young man in, but a captain needs to support his teammates, no matter the consequences.

Overall, the NHL needs to completely change its culture, whether in the executive office or ownership. Keeping players safe should be the number one priority instead of ensuring a profit for already wealthy owners. If the NHL wants to garner more fans and generate excitement for their brand, they need leadership focused on the players instead of the owners.

Alex Kwas is a freshman member of The Quill

The unpredictability of hockey

In sports, everything is unknown. There always are upsets, as well as expected victories. Sports are one of the most unpredictable things, and the 2020-2021 playoffs were a great example of that.

June 28, 2021. The Stanley Cup playoffs reached their final series in which the Tampa Bay Lightning faced off against the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup Trophy. A Stanley Cup with 2 very interesting cup runs. 2 teams with very different runs to the Cup. The first team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, was coming off of a Stanley Cup run the year prior. Their first series was an exciting matchup against the Florida Panthers. A Florida Panthers team that is considered to be their best team of all time. The series began with a bang as a Tampa Bay Lightning forward, Brayden Point, scored a goal with minutes left in the 3rd period to give the Lightning a Game 1 victory with a 5-4 win. After a dominating Game 2 affair vs. Florida, Game 3 was played in Tampa Bay. The Lightning looked to take a 3-0 lead in the series until the Panthers stole a game in overtime as the Lightning blew a 2 goal lead. Needing a win from splitting the series, the Lightning put up 6 goals in Game 3 to win 6-2, and they followed that up with a series 4-0 series clincher in Game 6 to send the Lightning to the second round, in which they faced the Carolina Hurricanes.

Brayden Points Game 1 game-winner.

While the Lightning were cup favorites again this year, the Montreal Canadiens couldn’t have been any different. The 4 seed in the Canadian division, which was regarded as the worst division that year, was the Canadian division. A Canadiens team that if it wasn’t for the division that they played in, they wouldn’t have even made it to the playoffs. Their first-round opponent was against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who required winning a playoff series after recent first-round exits. After the Canadiens won a surprising Game 1 victory, the Maple Leafs came back to take a 3-1 commanding lead, 1 win away from advancing to the second round. What already had happened was what everyone expected, in which the Canadiens would have a reasonable effort but fall to the superior star-studded lineup of the Maple Leafs. Nobody expected that the Canadiens would win 3 straight games to shock the NHL by beating the Maple Leafs in Game 7, 3-1, and advance the Canadiens to the second round. 

The Montreal Canadiens shock the World and send The Maple Leafs home early.

Next for the Lightning, they played the Carolina Hurricanes. When the Lightning played the Hurricanes in the regular season, every game they played was close, and 3 of them went to overtime. After taking a 2-0 series lead, the Lightning, the Hurricanes, who were trying to avoid going down 3-0 in the series, won Game 3 in overtime to take the series to a 2-1 series lead for the Lightning. Game 4 was set to be the biggest game of the series. Game 4 was set to change the entire series. If the Lightning won, they most likely would win the series, but if Carolina won, they would be tied up in the series, heading back to home ice. After a 1-1 first period, the Hurricanes jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the middle of the second. The Lightning weren’t done when they put up 3 more goals in the 2nd period as they jumped out to a 5-4 lead and extended it to a 6-4 lead to win Game 4. The Lightning finished off the series with a 2-0 shutout in Game 5. Next for the Lightning came the New York Islanders, who they played last year in the eastern conference final. 

Game 4, Tampa Bay Lightning versus Carolina Hurricanes.

In this series, every game was close for the first 3 games, but with a 2-1 series lead, the Lightning looked to put the series away. In Game 4, The Islanders had a 1 goal lead with 5 seconds left in the game. With a wide-open net, which would have tied the game, Islanders defense Ryan Pulock made one of the best saves of the entire season, running into the net and blocking a shot to win Game 4. The series was tied up 2-2, and Game 5 was a huge momentum game for both teams. The game was expected to be close, but after a 3 goal first period for the Lightning, they kept adding to their lead by destroying the Islanders in Game 5, 8-0. The series didn’t end without a push, as the 2 teams were set for a Game 7 matchup. The Lightning hadn’t played in a Game 7 since the eastern conference finals 3 years ago. In this game, 1 goal was scored, a short-handed goal scored by Yanni Gourde clinched a Stanley cup finals berth for the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Ryan Pulock’s save in Game 4

In Montreal, they still were considered a team whose run to the cup wouldn’t last much longer. Montreal had different plans, though, when playing against the Winnipeg Jets. Montreal, who seemed to be unstoppable, ran through the Jets with a 4-0 sweep, as they won Game 4 in overtime 3-2 vs. the Jets. Things didn’t run as easy for them as they matched up against the Vegas Golden Knights in their next series. The Knights had just come back from a 0-2 deficit versus the cup favorite Colorado Avalanche to win 4 straight and match up against the Montreal Canadiens, who had won 7 in a row in the western conference final. This series was back and forth, with 4 of the games being a 1 goal game. With a chance in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead, Golden Knights goalie Marc Andre Fleury pulled one of the worst mistakes of all time by the lead that blew the game and ended up blowing the series. After Marc Andre Fleury blew Game 3, Vegas won Game 4, and then they followed it up with losing Game 5 and then losing Game 6, 3-2, advancing the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1993. 

Marc Andre Fleury gives up a game-tying goal with minutes left in the game.

The matchup was set, and on June 28 the series began with a bang as the Lightning took Game 1 with a 5-1 win in which they commanded the entire game. Game 2 was controlled by the Canadiens, as they outshot the Lightning 43-23, but the Lightning won the game 3-1, as Andre Vasilevskiy stole the game to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead in the series. For Montreal, they got to play on home ice, needing to win a game to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. Game 3, a game in which the Lightning won 6-3, and gave the Lightning a 3-0 lead in the series. When down 3-0 in a series, every game you play in desperation because if you lose, it is your last game. Montreal avoided the series sweep as they won Game 4, to take the series to a 3-1 deficit. Game 5, back in Tampa bay, winning on home ice in front of their fans is every team’s dream, but it’s a lot harder said than done. Tampa achieved the dream, by winning Game 5, with a 1-0 win, to clinch the series and the Stanley Cup. The Tampa Bay Lightning had just gone back to back, a feat that hadn’t happened since the Penguins did it in 2017. The Canadiens rode the hot hand all the way to the Stanley Cup. A promising run that shows hope for the Canadiens in years to come.

The Lightning win Game 5 and another Stanley Cup Victory

Nobody expected this Stanley Cup final. One team was a cup favorite, while the other wasn’t expected to even win their first series. Expectations are never a reality in sports, and the 2020-2021 playoffs were a great example of that.

Joshua Sheppard is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Ice Gaels have their sights set on a championship run

When people our age think of MSJ sports, it’s most often football or basketball. Many people forget that the ice hockey team won 9 straight MIAA championships from ‘99-’07 and another in 2011. Yet everyone knows about that win in 2017 against Calvert Hall that went to overtime, resulting in another MSJ championship. Most people who understand the legacy that St. Joe hockey has, see it as one of the most underrated sports here because of how competitive the team has been for a while.

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Class of 2018, Noah Blonder, saluting the fans after a playoff goal against Calvert Hall. (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

In an interview with Michael Garvin, senior Tier I ice hockey player, he was asked certain questions to further explain and show why MSJ ice hockey is so important to the people who care about it and to exploit the hype around the team this upcoming year.

High expectations can easily get the best of you and put your confidence through the roof. Usually you do not play as hard as you would when you’re the underdog. You have to push to win and last year the Ice Gaels had too much confidence. An overwhelming, and self-defeating confidence. But this year, the men in purple are ready for battle and have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Coming up short in the MIAA finals really took the spirit out of the team for a bit. That seems to be the way it is for a couple of players but now it’s back and they are more ready then ever. The magic is hopefully back at the Mount and it is ring season for the ice Gaels, once again says Michael Garvin. “There’s definitely some motivation… we’re gonna be going for it this year.” Michael Garvin declared.

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Getting ready to take on Spalding – The calm before the storm (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Tryouts for the team just concluded and the new recruits are looking strong. They seem to know how much this means to the upperclassmen and they’re willing to give it whatever they can. With a strong, deep offense, powerful and skilled defensive core, and great goaltending from Connor Churko, senior goalie, the Gaels are looking stronger than ever. The team just won its opener against Marriotts Ridge on Monday night, 5-2. Opening the scoring, for the Gaels, was Sophomore forward, Jorrdan Osafo, on the penalty kill. A few minutes after Senior forward, Frankie Gregorini, came out of the penalty box, after a 5 minute major for a monster hit, and scored 10 seconds after the penalty expired giving the Gaels a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Senior Connor Churko went 16-18 saving shots on goal to seal the win.

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Senior goalie, Connor Churko, stopping a shot against Gonzaga (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

The one major thing that the Gaels can pride themselves on is their top of the line student section. They bring the life every time they come. However, not as many students show up for ice hockey like they do for some of St. Joe’s other sports. The Ice Gaels have plenty of big games and the more people that come, the more intensity the guys play with. Ethan Hall, the team manager from last year, said “Some games can be mellow but the big games are why I love the sport so much more than just the game.” He continued to talk about his experience. “All the students are involved and rally behind each other (with) every check and every chance on the ice.”

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Michael Garvin carrying the puck up the ice (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Off the ice, the guys are hard at work during school hours. There are a number of guys with GPA’s above a 4.0 such as Michael Garvin, Connor Flynn, and starting goalie, Connor Churko. When asked about balancing a hard work schedule and a hefty hockey schedule, Garvin simply said, “It’s not fun, but it has to be done.” They know what it takes to be a true student-athlete. The demands of a long season are something that every player on the team feels.

Looking forward to the season, the team knows that they can play a great game and they are expected to do well. More support and attendance from the student body is what they are in desperate need of. With some wins and some publicity, the team is hoping the fans come out in droves as the season progresses. Anything less than an MIAA championship this year will be a letdown for all the people involved.

8D5A6D96-4B91-4C8F-B277-9E790B5CAC3AFrank Gregorini is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

 

IceGaels Get it Done, Bring the MIAA Title Back to St. Joe

We knew Cross Country was going to win. We knew basketball was going to sit atop the conference. What we did not foresee was senior captain Alec Pupshis hoisting up the championship plaque in the middle of a sea of celebrating students.

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Senior Jay Davis holding the MIAA Championship trophy. Photo Credit: MSJ Hockey

The Hockey team defied any and all expectations thrust upon them in the biggest way possible. I talked to senior Jay Davis back in December and asked him about his expectations for the upcoming season. I was unsure how competitive the IceGaels would be, and when Jay replied to me with, “We are definitely better than last year, and I expect to see us in the championship game.” Now we know Jay was spot on, as they not only appeared in the championship, but upset the #1 seed to take home the title.

Meanwhile, the game itself was as good as it gets and suspenseful up until the very end. Our notorious student section showed out in a big way, undeterred $8 dollar admission fee, and the energy matched the team’s effort on the ice the entire game. It did not take long for the Calvert Hall Cardinals to take a lead. They had a man alone with the goalie, and took advantage of it, scoring early in the first period.  This goal tested the spirits of the students, but they did not let up, and neither did the guys on the ice. Towards the end of the first period, the puck got loose near Calvert Hall’s goal, and in the effort to possess the puck, a man pile of skaters formed, providing a perfect distraction for St. Joe to score (I don’t think anybody had any idea what happened when that goal went in). All I remember from that moment was the silence of students waiting for something, anything to happen. It was not until the referee’s whistle blew, and a couple St. Joe players threw their arms into the air did the crowd erupt into cheering and a very poorly coordinated yelling version of the beginning of Chelsea Dagger.

After an action packed first period, I expected more of the same through the next. However that was not the case. The goalies and their defenders took over for both teams. Personally, I have never been to a hockey game before, but the numerous saves the goalies had on both sides left me stunned. The defense would carry through the rest of game, as the third period ended with the score still tied at one-to-one.

As the overtime period started, the crowd was electric in an unprecedented way. It took only two minutes for the Gaels to score the final goal of the game. While the crowd was loud before, when the puck crossed the goal line, it erupted even louder than I could have imagined. I was standing in the third row of the stands. It took about five seconds of people pushing and shoving for me to be pushed up against the glass in the middle of a tidal wave of people yelling.

The Tier-1 Ice Hockey team gets to take home the MIAA plaque, taking part in possibly the best season of athletics we have seen in years. We have seen Indoor Track win, Wrestling win, Ice Hockey win, and also Basketball win the MIAA Championship. It surely has been a spectacular season for St. Joe athletics!