Archive for June, 2011


During his annual state of the sport address, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that as of the 2011-12 season, the league will have a new disciplinarian. Colin Campbell, the current Senior V.P. of Hockey Operations, will relinquish his duties as dean of supplemental discipline to former NHLer Brendan Shanahan, whose new title will be NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations.

Bettman was firm in stating that Shanahan’s promotion did not mean that Campbell was demoted. He revealed that Campbell approached him in March about relinquishing his supplemental discipline duties feeling that after his 13-years in the role, the league needed a change.

Discipline has been a hot-button issue for the NHL over the past few seasons, and in particular the evenhandedness of fines and suspensions which have been handed out. Recently, Campbell came under fire for not suspending Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara for his viscous hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty earlier this season and for not suspending Pittsburgh Penguins serial offender Matt Cooke for his brutal blindside hit on Bruins forward Marc Savard last season.

The constant scrutiny and criticism of the disciplinarian led Bettman to concede that the position is “a thankless job.” He admitted, “The tipping point may have been 13 years of supplemental discipline. At some point you deserve to have your sentence commuted.”

In his address, Bettman added, “Both Colin and I believe that it is time to take a fresh look at the standards that we use, and if we’re going to move to harsher discipline, that change needs to send a clear message, and we think it would probably be best to do it on a clean slate. Having Brendan, who only recently came off the ice after a wonderful career, will give us the adjustment and the focus and the credibility that this change will bring about.”

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Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla is known not only as a formidable competitor on the ice but also as one of the most charitable players in the NHL. Over the weekend, Iginla committed yet another random act of kindness by paying a surprise visit to Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

The high-scoring forward was met in Athens, Greece by TSN broadcaster Gord Miller and two members of Canada’s Olympic gold medal-winning women’s hockey team, Jayna Hefford and Marie-Philip Poulin. After a visit to the Athens Olympic Stadium and dinner with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the quintet flew to Qatar and then on to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

As the first active NHL player to visit to troops in the field, Iginla posed for photos, chatted with soldiers for two hours, and played on the outdoor ball hockey rink. Later, the group toured the Task Force Kandahar Headquarters, laid a commemorative wreath, and dined with the troops at a barbecue during which Iginla signed photos which were taken with him earlier in the day.

To underscore the admirable reputation which Iginla has acquired, Miller said, “I know people in Calgary know what kind of person Jarome is. But he was incredible. It underlies the character of the guy. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone that patient, that kind, with everyone. He asked some great questions. He was unbelievable. He had time for everyone. He just made everyone feel good.”

Upon returning to Athens, Iginla told, “It was an honor and a privilege to be asked by the Prime Minister to be part of this trip to come and meet and spend time with our troops. I met lots of guys from Alberta as well. There are lots of hockey fans and it was enjoyable to talk with all of them. Everyone has been watching the playoffs and it was cool to see the hockey rivalries among them…It was also very interesting as I toured headquarters and much of the base. It was truly an honor to spend time with our service men and women far from home.”

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