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Sylvan Lake, Alberta becomes ninth town to win title of Kraft Hockeyville

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Hockeyville-Logo-NHL-600

Kraft Hockeyville was developed by CBC Sports and has been an annual event since 2006. (Courtesy: Kraft/CBC.ca)

By Amy Lilek

Sylvan Lake, Alberta has been named Kraft Hockeyville 2014. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the winner during CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on Saturday.

With a population of a little more than 15,000, the small Western Canadian town beat out 531 other communities, a record number, to win the annual competition.

After almost 16 million votes were cast throughout the competition, Sylvan Lake beat Kingston, Nova Scotia, by just over 100,000.

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  • Published On Apr 05, 2014
  • Watch: Oilers’ Sam Gagner ties game late before winning it in shootout

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    Sam Gagner basked in the spotlight Friday night as his late game heroics turned the Oilers around from a one-goal deficit with a minute to go in regulation into a shootout win over the Coyotes. Gagner netted both the tying goal as well as showing off some crafty moves in the shootout to seal it up.

    Oilers winger Jordan Eberle should not go unnoticed as he played a critical role in coordinating the game-tying goal with 41 seconds remaining in the third period. With Edmonton netminder Ben Scrivens on the bench, Edmonton got the puck deep in the offensive zone behind the net. Phoenix goaltender Thomas Greiss made a costly error as he played the puck in the trapezoid only to have Eberle come around and pick his pocket with hardly any difficulty. Eberle got the puck out in front of the net for Gagner to put it away. Eberle was awarded the first star of the game afterward.

    A winner could not be produced in overtime and both Scrivens and Greiss shutout the first three shooters in the skills competition. In perhaps one of the more exciting shootouts of the season, Scrivens turned aside Oliver Ekman-Larsson who had a goal and an assist on the night.

    Gagner redefined the cliche of dangling a goalie of their pads as he showed off a little back hand toe-drag to get by Greiss. Greiss didn’t know which way to go and may have looked more helpless than when he was robbed by Eberle behind his own net a few minutes earlier.

    Below is Greiss’ fumble that sent the game into overtime:


  • Published On Apr 05, 2014
  • Coyotes goalie Mike Smith suffers lower body injury vs. Rangers

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    The Coyotes' Mike Smith had to be helped off the ice against the Rangers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    The Coyotes’ Mike Smith had to be helped off the ice against the Rangers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Mike McMahon

    The Phoenix Coyotes’ road to the playoffs may have just gotten a little more difficult after goaltender Mike Smith had to be helped off the ice in the third period of Monday night’s game against the New York Rangers.

    The injury occurred when Smith got tangled up with Rangers forward Derick Brassard. The two fell to the ice and it appeared that Smith landed quite awkwardly on his right leg.

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    Smith currently leads all goalies in games played with 62 and has been a vital part of the late-season playoff push by the Coyotes, who currently sit in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

    How much time the 32-year-old will miss has yet to be determined


  • Published On Mar 24, 2014
  • Coyotes forward Shane Doan becomes 54th NHLer to appear in 1,300 games

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    Shane Doan became the 54th NHLer to play in 1,300 career games, and just the 10th to accomplish the feat with just one team (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    Shane Doan is the Coyotes’ last remaining link to their years as the Winnipeg Jets. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    By Nick Stoico

    Despite losing 2-1 to the Bruins in Boston on Thursday night, it was still a special game for the Phoenix Coyotes.

    Team captain Shane Doan played in his 1,300th career game and became only the 10th player in NHL history to accomplish the feat with the same franchise.

    Doan was the seventh overall draft pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, when the team was based in Winnipeg. His first season with the Jets turned out to be the last for the franchise in Canada before it was moved to Arizona and renamed in 1996.

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  • Published On Mar 14, 2014
  • Coyotes switching from “Phoenix” to “Arizona” for 2014-15 season

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    Phoenix Coyotes salute their fans

    The Coyotes hope their new moniker makes them more attractive to fans in Arizona. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Since the NHL finally found someone to take the troubled Coyotes off its hands, it’s hardly been a secret that the new ownership group wanted to change the team’s name.

    “That was a request from the City of Glendale,” co-owner and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said at the time, “But one that we felt made a lot of sense, obviously following in the footsteps of other franchises here in the Valley.”

    The Valley also is home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Too many wheels were already in motion for the new owners to make the switch to “Arizona Coyotes” in time for the 2013-14 campaign, but word came down on Wednesday that they’ll use the new moniker next season.

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  • Published On Jan 29, 2014
  • Emergency goalie fraternity grows as Maple Leafs sign Canadian collegians

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    Jonathan Bernier took over for injured Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer, but what happens if Bernier goes down, too?

    Jonathan Bernier took over for injured Leafs goalie James Reimer on Thursday, but what if Bernier goes down?  (Icon SMI)

    By Michael Blinn

    When Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer was injured 0:32 into Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes, Jonathan Bernier took over in the net. While one goalie replacing another is no outstanding occurrence in hockey, Toronto was faced with a dilemma: what happens if Bernier goes down, too?

    Luckily, the Leafs were able to call on a couple of locals in University of Toronto goalies Michael Nishi and Brett Willows. The latter arrived at the Air Canada Centre and suited up, on stand-by while Bernier allowed a late goal in a 3-2 loss. Nishi suited up the next day at practice alongside Bernier and Reimer.

    They aren’t the first team to find a what amounts to a random goalie off the street, sign him to a one-day contract, and sit him on the bench in case of a serious problem. In face, the NHL, a forward-thinking league, has a protocol for such situations. From Rule 5.3: Goalkeeper:

    In regular League and Playoff games, if both listed goalkeepers are incapacitated, that team shall be entitled to dress and play any available goalkeeper who is eligible. This goalkeeper is eligible to sit on the player’s bench, in uniform.

    Over the past few seasons, the practice has made some headlines, with everyday people getting to play out their professional hockey fantasy, for at least part of a game.

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  • Published On Oct 20, 2013
  • Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith scores a goal against the Red Wings

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    By Michael Blinn

    Goalies are supposed to stop goals, not score them, but Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was able to do both against the Red Wings on Saturday night.

    With the clock ticking down, Smith gloved his 29th save of the night, dropped it in front of him, and quickly flipped it the length of the ice, towards the empty Detroit net. His aim was true, and the goal counted, the first of his career at 19:59 of the third period to give the Coyotes a 5-2 win.

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  • Published On Oct 20, 2013
  • Coyotes sale is complete, but one uncertainty still remains

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    Can the Coyotes finally prove that they can attract fans and sponsors under new ownership? (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Can the Coyotes finally prove that they can attract fans and sponsors under new ownership? (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Sarah Kwak

    After more than four years of operating under NHL ownership and multiple failed purchase attempts, the Phoenix Coyotes were officially sold Monday. Now, finally, they are somebody else’s problem. And those people are the IceArizona Acquisition Co., a group of 11, led by Chairman George Gosbee and pending CEO Anthony LeBlanc, who will now assume control of the beleaguered franchise.

    To say the least, it has been a long and tortured journey for the Coyotes since former owner Jerry Moyes filed bankruptcy in 2009. No fewer than five ownership groups tried and failed to purchase the club, and every discussion seemed to be cast under the question of the long-term survivability of an ice hockey team in the desert.

    Well, while the players flourished on the ice, making the playoffs for three straight seasons beginning 2010 and reaching the Western Conference final in 2012, the off-ice uncertainty continued to be a dark cloud over the team. Any momentum the team could muster would promptly be thwarted given the team’s budget constraints and the continual prospect of relocation.

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  • Published On Aug 05, 2013
  • NHL free agents: Mike Ribeiro signs with Phoenix Coyotes

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    Mike Ribeiro (Patrick  McDermott/Getty Images)

    Mike Ribeiro will bring some juice to the Coyotes’ 25th-ranked power play. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Free agent center Mike Ribeiro has signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. Let’s just hope he checked with his wife first.

    The 33-year-old center was given four years and $22 million. The deal includes a partial no-trade clause.

    He told TSN he had hoped to stay in Washington, but the chance to play under Dave Tippett, who coached Ribeiro previously in Dallas, was a big factor in his decision when he realized that wasn’t possible.

    “He knows what he can get from me and I know what he wants and I’m ready to work for that,” Ribeiro said.

    He revealed he’d also been in talks with Ottawa and Toronto.

    Ribeiro is a devastating offensive weapon coming off a 13-26-49 season that ranks among the best of his career. He played a key role on a Washington Capitals power play that clicked at a league-best 26.8 percent. The Coyotes ranked 25th in that category last season, so he should make an immediate and significant impact on the club.

    Ex-Bruin Horton scores one of the day’s first big deals

    FREE AGENT TRACKER: Who’s available, who signed


  • Published On Jul 05, 2013
  • Coyotes sign coach Dave Tippett, clarify part of Phoenix picture

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    Coach Dave Tippett signed an extension with the Phoenix Coyotes.

    Dave Tippett’s continuing presence lends stability to the Coyotes franchise, no matter where it plays. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    There was a sense heading into this summer that Dave Tippett would not sign an extension with the Phoenix Coyotes until he knew that the franchise was on solid ground.

    Either he knows something we don’t, or his decision ultimately came down to the people, not the place.

    Tippett surprised the hockey world this morning by agreeing to an unconditional five-year deal to remain as head coach for the franchise no matter where it plays over that span.

    It was an interesting decision, but even more interesting timing. Negotiations to keep the team in Phoenix under new ownership are approaching a league-mandated deadline of July 2, and another couple of days might have told the story. More compelling, though, was that his name was in the mix for several high-profile openings, even though he would not be available to interview until his contract expired on June 30. But when two of those positions — New York and Dallas — were filled within the last 48 hours, Tippett likely weighed his options and decided the grass couldn’t be any greener than where he was.

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  • Published On Jun 21, 2013


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