Showing posts from January, 2010

1980 Olympics, Not so Miraculous for Canada

When one thinks of the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympics, any self-respecting hockey fan instantly thinks of the U.S.A.'s Gold Medal "miracle on ice". Indeed, a group of American college kids ended up slaying the Russian bear, but in most circles Team Canada was rated higher than the States going into the '80 Games.
Canada had played the U.S eight times prior to the Olympics and won five of those games. As well, they had defeated the Soviets in the once prestigious Izvestia tournament over Christmas 1979 right in Moscow. They thus became the first Canadian team to win on Russian soil since the 1972 Summit Series. Canada had also beaten both the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers in pre-season tune ups. This was a team that was peaking, but in hindsight they peaked two months too soon.
Most prognosticators had picked the Soviets and Canada finishing one, two in their six team division and Czechoslovakia and the U.S. one, two in their division. Even bigger than Canada not…

1948 Olympic Hockey almost cancelled


This is what the headline read in a Canadian Press story dated Jan. 30, 1948. The controversy involved the United States sending TWO hockey teams to St.Moritz, Switzerland. Each team claimed to be the country's representative, the conflict almost cancelled the entire tournament.
In the thoroughly detailed book "Gold Medal Misfits" by Pat MacAdam, the whole scenario is explained.
It seems two different athletic bodies in the U.S. laid claim to the right to send a hockey squad to the 1948 Games. In 1947 the Amateur Hockey Association (AHA) replaced the American Athletic Union (AAU) as the United States' member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. The IIHF and the Swiss Olympic Committee each recognized the AHA as the governing body in the U.S. However, the head of the International Olympic Committee, ex-American decathlete Avery Brundage sided with the AAU. Brundage termed the AHA team "an outlaw organization" …

Olympic Hockey Pool

I'm running an Olympic hockey pool, check it out on the site above.

Olympic Hockey, 1920

Ice hockey first appeared as a demonstration Olympic event at the 1920 summer games in Antwerp, Belgium and it was not until 1983 that the IOC declared the results of that tournament "official" in their eyes. Participating countries were Belgium, France, Switzerland, Czechoslavakia and Sweden joined Canada and the U.S.
Each match consisted of two twenty minute halves and there was no "changing on the fly" permitted. The indoor rink measured 185 by 59 feet, narrow by today's standards.
Legendary announcer Foster Hewitt's father, W.A. Hewitt was Secretary of the Canadian team and would referee the first ever Olympic hockey game between Belgium and Sweden. The elder Hewitt commented on the 'equipment' of the Swedes, "They dressed like soccer players, did not wear shoulder, elbow or shin pads...their goaltender wore what looked like a cross between a blacksmith's apron and an aviator's coat."
Canada was represented by the Winnipeg Falcons…

Jakub Ficenec, 2010 Hockey Olympian

Canadian hockey players are not the only ones that play for other countries in the Olympics. Belarus selected the German-born Mikhail Grabovski, Finland's Janne Niskala was born in Sweden, Norway's Juha Kaunismaki was born in Helsinki, Finland and Sweden's third string goalie Stefan Liv was born in Poland. By far, the country with the most non-natives on their squad is Germany.

Ex-San Jose Shark Dmitri Patzold, one of Germany's goalies hails from Kazakhstan. Four Canadians as well play for the Germans, Jason Holland, Travis Mulock, Chris Schmidt and John Tripp. Forward Michael Wolf is from Austria and finally, defenseman Jakub Ficenec hails from the Czech Republic.
Ficenec actually began his North American hockey career playing with the South Surrey Eagles of the BC Junior League in the mid-90's. As a 19 year old in 1996, Ficenec was a team mate of 16 year old Scott Gomez and together they led the Eagles to the Royal Bank Cup final. After Gomez departed the followin…

Sven Felski, 2010 Hockey Olympian

I've been researching some of the lesser known names coming to Vancouver for the Olympic hockey tournament, and came across Mr. Sven Felski of Germany. The 35 year old native of Berlin will be making his second Olympic appearance, having played in the '06 Games. The 5'10" 167 pound right winger failed to notch a point in Torino yet has played 129 career international matches for Germany scoring 20 goals with 23 assists.
Felski is currently in his eighteenth consecutive season with the Berlin Polar Bears, beginning his career in 1992/93 as a seventen year old. Felski is the franchise's second highest career scorer with 184 goals and 475 points over 651 games and he's been a German Elite League All-star on five different occaisons.
Throughout his extensive stint with the Polar Bears, Felski has been a team mate to the likes of, Jiri Dopita, Andrei Lomakin, Peter Lee, Tomas Steen, Mike Bullard, Alexander Godynyuk, John Chabot, Olaf Kolzig, Erik Cole and currently …

2010 Unknown Hockey Olympians

When looking over the hockey rosters of next month's Olympic tournament there are a few nondescript names that need a little more looking at.
To start with, Switzerland will have a few Canadian born players representing them one is Edmonton native Hnat Domenichelli. He was a fourth round pick of the Hartford Whalers in 1994 and helped Canada win a World Junior gold medal in 1996 and also represented Canada in the 2006 Spengler Cup.

Domenichelli scored 148 points for the 95/96 Kamloops Blazers including 59 goals in 62 games and was a big part of the Blazers back-to-back Memorial Cup winners in '94 and '95. He would be traded during his rookie year to Calgary and eventually total 267 NHL games also with Atlanta and Minnesota. Domenichelli tallied 15 goals for Atlants in 2000-01 and was over a point per game scorer in the AHL over 213 games. He went to Switzerland in 2003-04 to play for HC Ambri-Piotta, leading the league in goals in 2006. Currently he is with Lugano and second…

Looking back at a miracle

Next month marks the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest underdog victories in sporting history. Of course I speak of the United States hockey team winning gold in the 1980 Olympic games. In looking back through the perspective of time it is truley amazing that this team did.
In winning the gold, the States were up against some solid competition in Sweden, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland and especially the Russians. The Swedes were in a somewhat similar predicament as Canada in that many of their better players had turned pro in the NHL and were therefore not eligible for Olympic play. They were without Borje Salming, Kent Nilsson, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. Canada would undoubtedly have challenged for gold if their pros were eligible but they still had young stars in Glenn Anderson and Paul MacLean and future steady NHL defenders Randy Gregg and Tim Watters.
The Swedes would end up winning a somewhat surprising bronze medal and the co-favourites Czechoslovakia would just as …