The Japanese women's hockey team remember to bow to each other after scoring. They have beaten out the Czechs to earn the eighth spot in the coming women's world championship, which will be held in Malmö at the end of March. Photo by Toshinobu Himori, via IIHF Twitter feed.
Kontinental Hockey League: The KHL has three new teams for 2014-15: Lada Togliatti, who were expelled several years ago for not having a KHL-worthy rink and have been playing in the second flight VHL since; Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish Liiga; and a new franchise, Delfin Sochi, created to take advantage of the facilities built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. On the other side of the ledger HC Donbass has suspended operations after its rink was looted and burned by annexationists; Spartak Moscow has dropped down to the VHL for financial reasons; and Praha Lev has folded. Atlant shift from the Tarasov to the Bobrov to even up the divisions.
Sweden: AIK are relegated from the SHL; Djurgården promoted. In the Kval till HockeyAllsvenskan Troja/Ljungby went down to Division 1 and HC Vita Hästen came up, a horse trade. (Troja/Ljungby's emblem is a red horse; Vita Hästen's is a white horse, and their name means white horse.)
Finland: Jokerit have left the Liiga for the KHL, and are replaced by Vaasan Sport, who played in the top league once before, in 1975-76.
This weekend the city of Amiens hosts a preseason hockey tournament called the Napoleon Cup. The four participating teams are: Les Gothiques d'Amiens, Les Dragons de Rouen, Nottingham Panthers, and Les Patriotes de l'Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. The two French clubs play in Ligue Magnus, the Panthers in Britain's EIHL, and UQTR in the CIS, Canada's varsity league. It's an opportunity to see how those three leagues stack up. Results:
Rouen 3 - 2 UQTR
Nottingham 4 - 3 Amiens
Nottingham 3 - 1 Rouen
UQTR 4 - 3 Amiens
UQTR 6 - 5 Nottingham (shootout)
Amiens 0 - 6 Rouen
Nottingham take the Cup, but Rouen and UQTR were close.
The Canadian Space Agency provides this graphic of the International Space Station as it might appear if it were the broadcast gondola overhanging five newly-Zambonied hockey rinks. Canada currently employs two astronauts, neither of whom is scheduled to be on board the ISS before 2020, and we have no rockets or capsules of our own to get them there. But, look, hockey.
Yesterday Tornado Moscow Region won the European Women's Champions Cup for the fourth time, finishing first in the round robin tournament ahead of AIK Stockholm, Espoo Blues and ECS Planegg. All four clubs were champions of their respective countries in 2013. Tornado win for the fourth time, which ties them with AIK who dominated the early years of this tournament. Tornado's best attacker in the final game was Kelley Steadman, an American. Source.
Members of the Japanese women's hockey team show off their Olympic uniforms. There are four countries with red and white flags in the two hockey competitions at Sochi: Canada, Japan, Austria and Switzerland. All four wear uniforms of red, white and black. Black is generally agreed to be an intimidating accent colour. But a national colour? In the German Empire, or Yemen.
Vítkovice is 7th in the Czech Extraliga. The Steel played in last year's tournament, winning their group but losing in the semifinals. No Canadians, but they do have a guy who played major junior in Charlottetown.
CSKA Moscow is 3rd in the KHL's Bobrov Division. They won the 1991 Spengler Cup. Canadian Brandon Reid plays for them.
Team Canada is made up of Canadians playing for the other clubs in the Swiss league, and one each from the German, Italian and Norwegian leagues, plus two from the AHL. Here's the full roster. They are the defending champions.
The Rochester Americans appear for the second time. They took part in the 1996 tournament, finishing third with two wins and two loses, beating Leksands IF and Jokerit. They remain the only American professional club to play in the Spengler Cup, though the US Olympic team and the University of Minnesota and the University of North Dakota have sent amateur teams. The 1996-97 Amerks included Vaclav Varada and Rumun Ndur, and coach John Tortorella. They finished first in the Empire State Division that year. The Americans are the top farm team of the Buffalo Sabres, currently the NHL's worst team. Rochester won an outdoor game against the Lake Erie Monsters of Cleveland earlier this month. The Amerks and Monsters are currently second and third in the AHL's North Division. Rochester's top scorer is Phil Varone.
Every Spengler Cup final of the 21st Century has featured either HC Davos or Team Canada or both. However, since 2010 when the tournament was expanded from five clubs to six by adding a second Swiss club, there's the chance of an all-Swiss final, which has only happened four times before, all of them during World War Two, when Davos and ZSC each won twice.
[Genève-Servette beats CSKA in the final. Rochester loses all three of its games.]