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January 4, 2002

January 4, 2002

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.


Ten years later, The Gretzky Trade impact reverberates in Hockey East’s busy offices

Noah Smith started “getting hooked” on hockey when he was a teenager in San Gabriel, Calif. Then the Great One landed him. “When Wayne Gretzky came to Los Angeles, going to a Kings’ game became an event rather than a novelty,” said Smith, in his second season as the media-relations director for Hockey East. “They used to carry less than 20 games a year on TV in California. The first year Gretzky came, that shot up to 65 games. And that was before the ESPN contract.” Thanks to Gretzky, Smith realized he wanted to pursue a career in sports. After his junior year at the University of California-Santa Barbara, he wrote every NHL team, inquiring about job opportunities. “I heard back from about half of them,” Smith said. “There are two responses I’ll always remember.…


Bidding cities await ruling on hosting Cup

The Erie Otters went to the Memorial Cup bid presentation Dec. 18 armed with a letter of support from Pittsburgh Penguins’ star/owner Mario Lemieux. The Otters, Barrie Colts, Guelph Storm and Ottawa 67’s made their pitches to host the championship after qualifying by placing in the top four of their Ontario League conference at the 30-game mark. The Plymouth Whalers, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors, Peterborough Petes, Belleville Bulls and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds also qualified, but declined to bid. The league isn’t disclosing the contents of the bids, including the financial guarantees. A team must guarantee at least $600,000 (Cdn.) to the OHL. Each of the four is believed to have promised at least $800,000. “We agreed we wouldn’t talk specific numbers in terms of dollars,” said 67’s owner Jeff Hunt. “If the…


Fetisov hat trick hero

The World Junior Championship is to Canada what Jerry Lewis is to France - really big in a small corner of the world. How do you explain these things? Hey, David Hasselhoff sings to sold-out soccer stadiums in Germany. Let’s just thank our lucky stars his musical talent remains a very well-hidden secret. Like Lewis in France and Hasselhoff in Germany, the WJC’s small pocket of fanaticism defies logic. It remains the only annual best-on-best hockey tournament in the world, but generally plays to empty arenas when held outside Canada. When the tournament was held in Boston in 1996, people who should have known better wondered if the hockey would be as good as the Beanpot Tournament. The fact is, the WJC has produced some memorable moments since it was first contested as…


Cup or bust? Leafs aim high

There are those who look at the Toronto Maple Leafs and see nothing but holes and question marks. For instance, their defense doesn’t come close to matching the talent and depth of the blueline corps that led Colorado to the Stanley Cup last year. The cynics see a captain and leading scorer, Mats Sundin, who is not afforded the respect - in terms of ice time - given to other teams’ leaders. (See table.) There’s an expensive free agent sniper, Alexander Mogilny, who has been more streaky than productive. And what about three other off-season acquisitions up front - Mikael Renberg, Robert Reichel and Travis Green? Their season-long performance has been average at best. That’s not the worst of it. There’s also the impending showdown between the organization and its best player, goaltender…