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2014 NHL Winter Classic to be held in…

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Just as originally planned for this year before the lockout led to its cancellation, Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium will host the 2014 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings on New Year's Day.

Just as originally planned for this year before the lockout led to its cancellation, Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium will host the 2014 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Alright, no real surprise here. The league finally got around to confirming this morning that the 2014 NHL Winter Classic will be exactly where the 2013 NHL Winter Classic was supposed to be, except this time it will, you know, actually take place.

So we’ll have the Red Wings taking on the Maple Leafs at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich. on New Year’s Day for what looks to be the biggest game in NHL history. Certainly the biggest in terms of attendance, and probably in terms of hype as well. Read More…


  • Published On Apr 07, 2013
  • Sean Day, 15, ready to prove he’s exceptional

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    John Tavares

    John Tavares, now with the Islanders, was the first player to earn exceptional status. (Bennett Cohen/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    When Hockey Canada came up with the exceptional player status as an option to advance the development of high-end players in the Ontario Hockey League, the thinking was that this sort of athlete might come around once in a decade.

    But with today’s news that Sean Day had been granted the status, it seems the exceptions are becoming the norm.

    Day, a 15-year-old defenseman from Detroit’s highly regarded Compuware program, becomes the fourth player to be allowed to enter the OHL a year early, and the third in three years.

    Despite the surprising streak, it’s clear the bar hasn’t been set too low. John Tavares was the first player to earn the distinction in 2005. Four years later, he was the first overall pick in the NHL draft.

    Two years ago, it was defenseman Aaron Ekblad. He went first overall in the OHL draft to Barrie, and is expected to be a top-10 pick in the 2014 NHL draft. Connor McDavid earned the exemption last spring. He was Erie’s best player this year, and USA Today compared him to LeBron James in terms of his potential to impact his sport.

    And now Day, a proud Canadian who has never lived in the country, gets the chance to prove he’s up to the challenge of the world’s toughest junior circuit.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 21, 2013
  • OHL fighting bans will benefit NHL

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    Brandon Prust fights Zac Rinaldo

    The NHL is keeping an eye on the OHL’s new system that hands suspensions to players who have more than 10 fights. (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    David Branch, the president of the major junior Ontario Hockey League, has once again shown himself to be one of this sport’s real visionaries — and there are not enough of them in decision-making positions. By advocating and championing the OHL’s new rule designed to punish one-dimensional players whose main function is to fight, he’s continuing to chart a new course for hockey, one that’s leading to a better product.

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  • Published On Sep 21, 2012
  • OHL still leading way with stiff headshot bans

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    OHL Commissioner David Branch has become the face of his league’s zero tolerance policy on headshots. (Photo by Leon T Switzer/ Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    Another stiff suspension for a headshot in the Ontario Hockey League has been handed down and, as in all consequential rulings anywhere in the game, there are aftershocks for the NHL to consider.

    The OHL, the NHL’s top source of junior players, has suspended Tom Kuhnhackl, a Penguins draft pick, of the Niagara IceDogs 20 games for his hit last Friday that was delivered to the head of Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ryan Murphy, a Hurricanes pick who nearly made the NHL club in training camp. The OHL has been a leader in player safety during the last five years, especially hits to the head, and its Board of Governors last summer instructed the league to step up its punishment of players for dangerous play. On this hit, the OHL acted strongly.
    Read More…


  • Published On Nov 09, 2011
  • OHL strikes a blow against staged fights

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    By Stu Hackel

    It’s  merely a half-measure, but a new rule in the Ontario Hockey League that goes into effect with tonight’s games may be a first step toward getting all staged fights out of junior hockey…and a harbinger of change in the NHL.

    Read More…


  • Published On Nov 26, 2010


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