Links Round-up: Fred Sasakamoose and Indigenous hockey trailblazers; Former NHL enforcers facing homelessness, addiction; NWHL’s Beauts bought by Pegula family; and more

Formerly known as “Weekly Links,” our round-up of important and interesting pieces from the hockey blogosphere and media will now appear twice a month. [Editor’s note: Due to the holidays, this Links Round-up is appearing a week late]

  • Fred Sasakamoose, who survived abusive residential schools and played 11 games for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54, has long been heralded as the first Indigenous NHLer. He was inducted into the Order of Canada, and has had his remarkable life celebrated in a number of venues. [Globe and Mail; Kamloops This Week; The Star]

  • While Sasakmoose’s accomplishments are rightly being celebrated, hockey historians pointed out that he was not in fact the first Indigenous player to play in the NHL, and that other pro players prior to Sasakamoose helped trailblaze for Indigenous players. While Sasakamoose deserves to be honoured with the Order of Canada, other earlier Indigenous players such as Henry Maracle and Jimmy Jamieson also deserve to have their accomplishments recognized. [Medium; Puckstruck]
  • Former NHL and minor league enforcer Stephen Peat is homeless, bouncing between sleeping in short-term places and his truck. In this candid piece by Douglas Quan, he reflects on his post-career struggles, which have also included unemployment, criminal charges, and substance abuse.  [National Post]
  • Sadly, Peat is not the only former NHLer going through such struggles. Matt Johnson, who developed substance abuse and addiction issues during his concussion-filled career, is estranged from his family and is now believed to be living homeless in California. [TSN; Peterborough Examiner]
  • A number of former NHL tough guys are attempting to reach out and help Peat move through his difficult situation. [CBC News]
  • As grassroots hockey grows in Arizona, increasing numbers of women coaches are having an impact on the growth of female hockey. [Arizona Coyotes]
  • The NWHL got a big boost when the Pegula family, who owns the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, bought the Buffalo Beauts. The Beauts will become the first non-NWHL owned team since the league began in 2015:

  • With the announcement of the Canadian women’s and US men’s and women’s teams for PyeongChang 2018, there have been a number of interesting profiles of  players. First, a look at Brigette Lacquette, who became the first Indigenous woman to play for Canada’s national team. [Hockey Canada] [Note: It appears that Lacquette is in fact not the first Indigenous player on the national team, despite the Hockey Canada profile.]
  • Lacquette’s teammate, Meghan Agosta, works as a Vancouver police officer when not concentrating her efforts on her hockey career. [CBC Sports]
  • And Sarah Nurse, whose cousins are also exceptional athletes (Kia plays NCAA basketball and Darnell is in the NHL), is profiled by William Douglass. [Color of Hockey]
  • Meanwhile, on the American side of the coin, Jordan Greenway will be the first African American to skate for the US Olympic team. [The Sporting News]
  • Johnathan Morrison has been an international sledge hockey referee since the 2006 Turin Paralympic Games. PyeongChang 2018 will mark his final Paralympic Games. [USA Hockey]
  • IIHF President Rene Fasel tells TSN that he hopes NHL players will return to the Olympics at Beijing 2022. [TSN]
  • Good news for fans of hockey on free-to-air TV, as Rogers and the CBC have agreed to keep broadcasting NHL games on CBC platforms through 2026:

  • A profile of Eleanor Muir, who has refereed in Manitoba and Saskatchewan for 30 years and has been recently named a Hockey Canada Ambassador. [CBC News]
  • Kevin Wesgarth has moved from hockey enforcer to the NHL’s Vice President of Business Development and International Affairs. Jackie Spiegel looks at this journey. [The Hockey Writers]
  • Beloved former Toronto Maple Leafs star Johnny Bower passed away at 93 years old. RIP. [TSN; The Hockey News]
  • The NHL Winter Classic appears to be losing its lustre. This year’s game, played outdoors at Citi Field in New York between the Sabres and New York Rangers, drew the annual event’s worst television ratings ever. [ESPN]
  • Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is drawing the ire of the team’s fans, many of whom are calling for him to sell the team. [VICE Sports; Yahoo! Sports]
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