Here’s your daily dose of knowledge to get you going in the morning, with a focus on New England hockey and connections to it.
1. Big-game wrap-ups
Mid Fairfield wasn’t exactly a hospitable host during its weekend tournament in Stamford, Conn., coming away from the showcase with a perfect 5-0 record, capped by a 5-2 win over the Boston Junior Eagles. Aren’t they supposed to lose at least a game to be in the spirit of the holiday season? Giving and all that? … Meanwhile, the Phillips Exeter crowd actually served as good hosts, as The Hill school of Pottstown, Penn., came away with the girls’ holiday tournament title there. The Blues took the title with wins over Exeter and Brewster, tying Brooks. … Meanwhile, Avon Old Farms continues its dominant run to open the season with two commanding wins, first 3-1 (co-captain Tabor Heaslip with two goals) over Trinity-Pawling on the road on Saturday and then 4-0 (John Turner, Falmouth, Mass., with two goals) in their own barn over Deerfield Academy on Sunday. At this rate, the Winged Beavers, who are now a perfect 5-0 to open their season, are setting themselves up to be bad hosts themselves for their Christmas Hockey Classic, which runs Thursday through Saturday.
2. Tim Thomas going through trying times
Former Boston Bruins goalie and Stanley Cup champion Tim Thomas was considered a bit flaky, especially late in his career. Talk among reporters was frequent of him rumored to be living in a bomb shelter in Colorado after he retired in 2014 following a brief stint with the Florida Panthers. But at his appearance last week while being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame — his first public appearance since retiring — he was forthcoming about what happened: a concussion in his last season sent him into a spiral that sounds like he is still recovering from. Clearly emotional while talking to reporters, Thomas said he quickly lost his love for the game, but, more tragically, over the short term lost his ability to make a decision. “I woke up the next morning after it and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat, where I wanted to go,” he told reporters. “I couldn’t plan a schedule. I survived following the team schedule the rest of the year and just made it through that season.” Everyone reading this knows at least one person who has sustained a concussion playing hockey; the time is now for the NHL to step up and do the right thing with taking greater responsibility.
3. New England flavor spices up Rivalry Series
Kelly Browne (Burlington, Mass.) made her Team USA debut on Saturday, as the Americans took on the rival Canadians at Hartford’s XL Center. Browne, a left-shooting forward, is a sophomore at Boston College, and cut her teeth with the Boston Junior Eagles. The opener of the U.S.-Canada Rivalry Series was won 4-1 by the home team, on the strength of four unanswered goals after falling behind 1-0 to Canada. Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) was among the scorers for the Americans. Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.) is an assistant captain on the team. Four more games are planned for the series, the next being Tuesday in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Paul Grant is an editor and a writer for HockeyJournal.com and Seamans Media. He previously oversaw hockey content at ESPN.com and Sporting News. You can connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.