Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Amanda Kessel would be a great fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs

In a season where the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to qualify for their first postseason since 2004 (in which they played the Philadelphia Flyers), Phil Kessel has emerged as the centre of attention. While the club looks for a pair of forwards that can complement his skills, perhaps their best option would be Phil’s sister, Amanda Kessel.
During the 2012-13 NCAA season, Amanda Kessel has had a year to remember. She earned her 200th career point in only her 99th career contest. Playing with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, she helped the squad reach several milestones, including the longest unbeaten streak in NCAA women’s hockey history, and a 22-0-0 start.
Of note, Kessel is also the NCAA’s leading scorer. Should the Gophers remain undefeated and win the NCAA Frozen Four, Kessel shall be a key component of that unprecedented success.
Over a decade ago, Meghan Sittler, the daughter of Maple Leafs legend Darryl Sittler was a scoring phenom with the Colby College White Mules. Eventually, she would compete with the United States National Team and the Brampton Thunder of the National Women’s Hockey League. Cliff Fletcher, an advisor (and former general manager) of the Toronto Maple Leafs had indicated that he would have been willing to sign her to a contract.
Based on her superlative performance, Kessel is emerging as the favorite to claim the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Award (awarded to the most outstanding player in NCAA women’s hockey). In addition, she will likely be a member of the US National Team that shall compete at the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Ottawa, Ontario. A roster spot for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games is not unlikely.
Although it would seem more likely that a woman would have a better opportunity to break the National Hockey League’s gender barrier as a goaltender, Amanda Kessel’s superior skills and talents would truly make her the most suitable linemate for Phil Kessel. Considering that the Maple Leafs have not experienced Stanley Cup glory since 1967 (and have not been to the finals since), it is time for the franchise to take a risk.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bravo to 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds for recognizing impact of Do It for Daron

With the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships being hosted in Ottawa, Ontario, Hockey Canada has chosen to recognize the local foundation Do It for Daron as its charity of choice.

As an Ottawa based foundation, DIFD honors the life of the late Daron Richardson. The foundation has helped to not only provide a message of hope, but is has given inspiration to an entire generation of young women’s hockey players in Ottawa.

Canada’s April 3 contest versus Switzerland will feature a section of the arena dedicated to DIFD. All seats sold in the Power to the Purple section (as purple was Daron’s favorite color) will result in five dollars from each ticket sold going to DIFD. During that day, one dollar from all program sales will also be donated to DIFD.

The Canadian national women’s hockey team had the opportunity to witness the power of DIFD at its 2012 autumn training camp in Calgary, Alberta. Ashley Gilbank, a women’s hockey coach from the Ottawa area rollerbladed across Canada in a cause titled Skate4Life 2012.

With the beneficiary of her efforts being DIFD, Gilbank had the opportunity to share her story with the national women’s team and members of the CWHL’s Team Alberta.

Although the rivalry between Canada and the United States will see its next chapter written at the 2013 WWC, the true champion shall be the beneficiaries of DIFD. In having impacted the lives of so many people, DIFD is a remarkable example of the courage and determination that all of us have inside.