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Champions Issue 2021

Champions Issue 2021

Bolts go back to back! We celebrate the Lightning's historic victory, as well and the title runs for teams across the world in our Champions Issue. Also inside: 31 break-out players to watch next season, the future of NHLers at the Olympics, the push to get Herb Carnegie in the HHOF, and much more.



HATERS GONNA HATE. Virtually everyone not cheering for the Tampa Bay Lightning cried foul over Nikita Kucherov’s surgically repaired hip healing exactly in time for Game 1 of the playoffs, when his $9.5-million cap hit no longer counted. But that wasn’t his fault. And, regardless of how murky his recovery timeline was, he did come back from hip surgery and deliver one of the greatest post-seasons in recent memory, a dizzying flurry of snipes, slap passes and feints calling to mind the best years of Mario Lemieux. Kucherov’s 32 points gave him the playoff scoring title for a second straight year, and he became the fifth player in NHL history to reach 30 points in multiple post-seasons. The 2019-20 and 2020-21 regular seasons belonged to Edmonton Oilers superstars Leon Draisaitl and Connor…



AS PART OF HIS Peer-to-Peer series, THN owner and publisher W. Graeme Roustan spoke to Dan Lehv, the president of the USHL’s Chicago Steel. W. GRAEME ROUSTAN: Tell us about your background and what got you into sports. DAN LEHV: It actually started in basketball. I grew up in White Plains, N.Y., just north of New York City. I was playing JV basketball, I was a sophomore at White Plains High School. The year before, the varsity team won the state championship, and here I am, 5-foot-8, averaging maybe four minutes a game on JV and maybe two points a game. Midway through the season, the varsity coach calls me into his office, and I’m thinking, “This is the end of my basketball career.” He sits me down and says, “Dan, we’d…



WHEN NICK PAUL CONVERTED a 2-on-1 with Connor Brown to clinch gold at the 2021 World Championship, the goal capped off a stunning rally for Team Canada. “You get ‘Brownie’ the puck, good things happen,” said Paul of his Ottawa Senators teammate. “I threw it over to him, not a great pass. But he gave it back and I put it in the net and it was unbelievable.” The play started with a defensive-zone faceoff – a dangerous situation in 3-on-3 overtime. “Nick Paul loses the faceoff clean, and he goes around the centerman to intercept the pass to the D-man to spring himself on a 2-on-1,” marvelled Roberto Luongo, the first-time GM for Team Canada. “That’s such a smart play, that really doesn’t get talked about enough. That really created that…



CHAMPIONS BECOME champions after going through a great deal of adversity that typically is referred to as blood, sweat and tears. In this issue, we celebrate the champions of hockey leagues around the world after playing a game for the 2020-21 season. Congratulations to all of the players, coaches and their entire support staff who helped make them all champions. This hockey season is now behind us, its champions are all crowned and trophies have been handed out. Much of this issue is dedicated to celebrating the on-ice players who delivered the well-needed distraction of hockey games while the more serious game of life and death was unfolding right in front of us all on a daily basis. During this season, we celebrated the frontline workers like Hayley Wickenheiser and hundreds of…