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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.



MORE THAN 850 DAYS will have passed between top-level competitions, but after COVID-19 nixed the 2020 tournament, and the 2021 event was faced with a short-term delay and eleventh-hour cancellation, the top women’s players on the planet will once again compete for World Championship glory. The 2021 Women’s World Championship will begin Aug. 20 in Calgary, with all 31 games contested at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park. The change in venue – the tournament was originally slated to take place in Halifax and Truro, N.S. – was forced because Nova Scotia’s government barred the tournament from taking place in May amid rising public-health restrictions in the province. Players from each of the 10 competing nations are expected to arrive in Calgary by Aug. 10, at which point they will undergo…



THE PENSACOLA ICE FLYERS won a fourth President’s Cup title in the Southern Professional League, but this one occurred from their most improbable path. They went two months without a home win. They fell into a battle for fourth place and the league’s final playoff spot. And in mid-April, the Ice Flyers lost six of eight games. Like the flip of a light switch, however, everything quickly changed. They won four of their last five games to end the regular season, then swept through both best-of-three rounds in the playoffs by beating No. 2 seed Knoxville and regular-season winner Macon to claim another championship. “They’re all sweet,” said Ice Flyers coach Rod Aldoff, who has led the club to three of its four titles. “Winning is difficult by itself. Then you throw…



GIVEN EVERYTHING THE WORLD has gone through in the past year-and-a-half, hockey players who got a chance to play this season were extra-grateful for the opportunity. To win a title on top of it all? That’s just plain exhilarating, a reward for all the hard work that goes into a championship campaign like the one put together by the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs. “We definitely believed it, starting a couple of months ago,” said goalie Cole Hudson. “But if you told me in August, during COVID, that I’d be lifting the Robertson Cup, I’d call you crazy.” What’s crazy is how good Hudson was for the Mudbugs. The NCAA Vermont commit was playoff MVP after going 9-0 in the post-season with a 1.54 GAA and .941 save percentage. Shreveport beat a tough…



WINNING A championship is never easy. It takes skill, teamwork and in most cases some pretty good luck. But for every hockey team that won the ultimate prize this season, it also took more sacrifice than usual. Sure, every year features champions who pulled themselves together despite bruised and near-broken bodies, and every player has gone through long road trips, years away from home and countless hours practising at the rink just to get a shot at glory, but we all know this campaign has been different. Heck, some leagues didn’t even have a championship or a post-season – some didn’t even have a season at all. For those who did get the chance to compete, however, the season was a grind on top of a grind, forced into demanding boxes by…