Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 41 days
Monday’s Moon Shots
MAKING HISTORY: Goalie Taya Currie made hockey history after becoming the first female player to take the ice for an OHL team, this following her groundbreaking draft selection in June. Congrats, Taya!
F-EELI-NG GOOD: Predators forward Eeli Tolvanen signed a three-year, $4.35 million deal with Nashville, keeping the 22-year-old in Music City for the foreseeable future. He had 22 points in 40 games last season.
Tuesday’s Toe Drags
BREAKING BARRIERS: The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones named Jason Payne head coach, becoming the third minority head coach in ECHL history. The move also makes him the only Black head coach in professional hockey at this time.
HE’S NO CON-MAN: Defenseman Connor Murphy agreed to a four-year, $4.4 million AAV deal with the Blackhawks, solidifying the 28-year-old’s place in the Windy City. Murphy scored 15 points last season and will likely anchor Chicago’s top pair.
BAR DOWN: Team Canada pulled off an incredible comeback to defeat the United States 3-2 at the Women’s World Championship, claiming its first gold since 2012. The Canadians rallied from an early two-goal deficit to ultimately win in overtime after Marie-Philip Poulin (who else?!) sniped a filthy goal that went off the crossbar and in.
In honor of the Cincinnati Cyclones’ hiring of Jason Payne, we wanted to look at some other contributions of Black players to the sport of hockey. Which begs us to ask…
Do you know your Black hockey history?
- Willie O’Ree is best known for being the first Black player in the NHL. On top of breaking the color barrier, O’Ree also had to keep his injury a secret from the Boston Bruins. What injury did he suffer from?
- Hip Injury
- Back Injury
- Knee Injury
- Eye Injury
- Who was the first Black player to win a Stanley Cup?
- Johnny Oduya
- Grant Fuhr
- Devante Smith-Pelly
- Willie O’Ree
- Who was the first Black hockey player to win a men’s Olympic gold medal?
- P.K. Subban
- Jordan Greenway
- Val James
- Jarome Iginla
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
Had to Be OT 🥇
When it comes to the storied rivalry between Team Canada and Team USA in women’s hockey, dramatic and thrilling showdowns have become the norm. In fact, the finish of the 2021 tournament—one that saw captain Marie-Philip Poulin provide the OT heroics for Canada—followed the script of many recent USA-Canada battles for gold.
Dating back to 2011, overtime or a shootout has been needed to decide six of the past eight tournaments (the event isn’t held in Olympic years and got cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2020). The only years during that stretch when additional time wasn’t required? Amanda Kessel scored the go-ahead goal in the third period of the 2013 tournament when Team USA squeaked out a 3-2 win, and the Americans scored twice in the final 10 minutes of regulation to secure a wild 7-5 victory in 2015.
While Canada came away victorious on home ice this time, the US has been the more regular star of these iconic moments, winning the previous five golds in a row and eight of the past nine before last night. Sure enough, it has been the sport’s biggest names that have engineered their teams’ gold medal moments.
Hilary Knight has recorded two gold-clinchers against the States’ cross-border rival, Caroline Ouellette wrapped up the 2012 tournament on a winning note for Canada, and American Alex Carpenter potted the only goal during a 1-0 overtime gem backstopped by goaltender Alex Rigsby in 2016.
While there was little doubt about who the gold medal game participants would be (I mean, Finland did oust Canada in the semifinals last time, but that’s hardly the trend given that every other Final has been US/CAN), the rivalry between these two North American foes delivered once again. Next up, the Beijing Olympics in 2022!
Editor’s Note: It is with sadness that today is the last issue with our dear friend — Pat Brown. While he will be staying with THW, he is stepping away from the Morning Skate. Thank you for all your hard work. You will be missed, Pat!