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"Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story" debuts Saturday, May 4 on the Hallmark Channel

Michael Shanks stars as Gordie Howe in "Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story”

Gordie Howe, the hockey legend who played a few seasons in Hartford is a focus of the new film premiering Saturday night on the Hallmark Channel at 9 pm.  "Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story” stars Michael Shanks as Gordie Howe and Kathleen Robertson as his late wife, Colleen and focuses on his return to professional hockey after two years of retirement and his debut in the new WHA playing alongside his two sons Mark and Marty with the Houston Aeros for the 1973-74 season.  At the time, this was considered a publicity stunt for the new league, but Gordie and his sons try to prove the critics wrong and win a championship in Houston.

Former Hartford Whalers owner Howard Baldwin, who is spending much of his time in Los Angeles now working on movies, is an executive producer for the film. “It’s a movie we’ve worked on for a long time and the story we tell is a story that should be told about the greatest player in the game, or certainly one of the top 3 or 4, coming out of retirement at the age of 44 and then winning the whole shooting match in the first year,” Howard said.  “It was a wonderful, heartwarming story and a story that will never be replicated again. There will be nobody who will ever do what Gordie Howe did.”

While the story takes place in Houston, this is a story Baldwin is very familiar with, having been involved with the Whalers and the league.  “We made a real effort to get to know Gordie and Colleen and the family because they were so important to the WHA.  We initially acquired the rights and did what they call developed it, that’s all done by Karen [Baldwin, Howard’s wife]; she’s the creative one in the group and is really brilliant at it.  She worked hard with the writer in Canada and made sure the story was told in an articulate way. We were involved in the story from cradle to grave as they say.”

The Howe Family in 1974In Canada, the movie was shown on the CBC, the largest broadcast network in the country, last Sunday. “I heard the ratings were great and people loved the movie, and I have no reason that it will be any different here in the States,” Baldwin said. “So the feedback on the movie is really good and it’s a really good story, very much like the movie “The Rookie” (with Dennis Quaid), a good positive story, all true.

“The Howe family really liked the movie, the NHL really liked the movie, and the movie is also a special tribute to Colleen.  It has a special meaning for me personally and for Karen because we had such enormous affection for Gordie and for Colleen, we just loved Colleen.  And the only thing I’m sorry about is that she couldn’t see the movie, but hopefully she’s seeing it somewhere up there, so it means a lot for them to like it and to feel good about it.  And that makes it a special movie for us.”

“Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story” premiers Saturday, May 4 at 9 pm on the Hallmark Channel.

Story by Michael Glasson

Frozen Four Overview by Mike Glasson

The men’s hockey programs at Yale and Quinnipiac have both reached the 2013 Frozen Four, and together they have declared Connecticut has arrived on the national stage in college hockey.

Yale has a storied place in college hockey and is in fact the oldest intercollegiate hockey program in the country, having played their first game in 1896.  In the modern era, they made one other Frozen Four appearance in 1952, losing in the semifinals.  The program has produced several NHL players over the years, currently including the Vancouver Canucks’ forward Chris Higgins.  Tim Taylor is the program’s longest tenured coach, running Bulldogs hockey for 28 seasons between 1976 and 2006.  3500-seat Ingalls Rink, affectionately known as the “Yale Whale” due to its hump-backed appearance, is an architectural jewel that opened on campus in 1958.

Despite the long history, success at the New Haven institution has seemed to accelerate under current head coach Keith Allain.  The Bulldogs have made the 16-team NCAA tournament four out the past five years and won the ECAC tournament for the first time in 2009.

Meanwhile, the competition just eight miles up Whitney Avenue in Hamden only joined the ECAC in 2005, but hasn’t had a losing season since their entry into the prestigious league.  Previously a club program, Quinnipiac joined the NCAA Division II in 1975, jumping up to Division I under current head coach Rand Pecknold in 1999.  This season has brought them into national prominence, having been the number one-ranked program in the country for much of the season.  The Bobcats are the number one seed in the NCAA tournament this year.

Quinnipiac and Yale seem to have a good relationship off the ice.  In fact the Bobcats and Bulldogs shared Ingalls Rink for Quinnipiac’s first season and the first half of their season in the ECAC until the 3,386-seat High Point Solutions Arena opened on Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel campus in 2007. Games against each other are sold out in front of frenzied crowds, creating a local rivalry that enhances both programs.

On the ice, however, the Bulldogs and Bobcats are not friendly rivals.  In the ECAC tournament consolation game this season, Quinnipiac was already a lock to make the NCAA tournament but Yale needed a win.  Quinnipiac did no favors for their local rival, coming out on the ice swinging and winning 3-0. Quinnipiac beat Yale all three times they’ve met this season.

Yale, luckily, did end up making the tournament anyway when Michigan lost to Notre Dame in the CCHA title game.  Would Yale like to face Quinnipiac in the NCAA tournament final and earn redemption?  You’d better believe it, and Connecticut would love to see it.

Catch Yale take on UMass Lowell at 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 11 on ESPN2.  Quinnipiac battles St. Cloud State (Minnesota) at 8:00 PM later on Thursday, also on ESPN2.  The winners of each semifinal fight for the championship on Saturday, April 13 at  7:00 PM. All games are in Pittsburgh, PA.




There will be no CT Hockey Hall of Fame event this season

There will be no CT Hockey Hall of Fame event this season.  Plans are underway for the 2013-14 ceremony and induction.


Connecticut Trio Has Laid Foundation For Future

From 1926 to 1987, only three players born in Connecticut reached the ranks of the National Hockey league; Moe Roberts, a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame despite playing just ten games in the NHL, Frank Beisler, who played two games with the New York Americans in the NHL along with a long IAHL and AHL career, and Richard Bittner, who received just a one game stint with Boston during the 1949-50 season. However, the late 1980’s would see two Connecticut players not only reach the NHL, but succeed there beyond anyone’s reasonable expectations. Brian Leetch, born in Texas but relocated to Cheshire, Conn. just three months later, broke into the NHL during the 1987-88 season with the New York Rangers.

Leetch had previously starred at Cheshire High School, Avon Old Farms and at Boston College before becoming the Rangers’ first selection (ninth overall) in the 1986 NHL Draft. Leetch, of course, went on to become one of the greatest defensemen of all-time and arguably the greatest Connecticut hockey player of all-time, winning a pair of Norris Trophies and helping the Rangers capture the Stanley Cup in the 1993-94 season on his way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Joining Leetch in the NHL that same season would be his Boston College teammate and former Enfield High School star Craig Janney, who joined the Boston Bruins just four picks after Leetch in the 1986 Draft. Janney went on to play 12 seasons in the NHL, largely with the Bruins and the St. Louis Blues, totaling 751 points,second in Connecticut history only to Leetch (1,028).

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USA Hockey Feature on Julie Chu

Julie Chu and Brian Leetch at CT Hockey Hall of Fame NigBy Doug Williams

Special to USAHockey.com

Julie Chu didn’t have dreams of being an Olympian when she started playing hockey as a little girl in Connecticut.

Back then there was no such thing as women’s hockey in the Olympic Winter Games.

She wasn’t chasing a vision; she was just chasing the puck. Hockey was something fun to play, pure and simple.

“For me, I just kind of fell into the sport,” said Chu, who turned 30 last week. “And when I started playing, I loved it from the beginning.”

She had no idea the game would take her on the trip of a lifetime.

Today, Chu is a role model for girls all over the United States, a woman who has skated up the hockey ladder to heights she never imagined and opened doors along the way for others to follow.

Read Full Article here: 


2012 Hall of Fame Banner at XL Center

2012 Hall of Fame Banner at XL Center


CT Hockey Hall of Fame Ebay Auctions Begin

Rare, one-of-a-kind merchandise from the March 10, 2012 CT Hockey HOF induction ceremony are now available only on these EBay auctions.

Item 1.  Pat Verbeek Hartford Whalers jersey worn at the induction.   Ebay listing is here


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2012 Induction Ceremony: Photo Gallery

2012 Induction Ceremony:  Photo Gallery


Hartford Courant: Six Inducted to CT Hockey Hall of Fame

Nobody knows exactly where hockey in our state is headed, yet as the six inductees into the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame stood there between periods Saturday night at the XL Center we could see where it has been.


From the near-great to the great to, in Brian Leetch's case, arguably the greatest American hockey player in history, we could see how far Connecticut's sons and daughters, and its adopted sons and daughters, have traveled. From the AHL to the NHL all the way back to the WHA, from the Connecticut Polar Bears and Avon Old Farms to the Olympic medal podium, an inscription on the Stanley Cup to the Hockey Hall of Fame, yeah, Connecticut hockey has been around the rink a few times.

Pat Verbeek is the assistant general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning now. Mike Liut, who went on to get his law degree and become a player representative, is now managing director of Octagon's Hockey Division. Ken Gernander is head coach of the Whale. Julie Chu, aiming for the 2014 Olympics, is assistant coach at Union College and plays for Montreal in the Canadian Women's Hockey League. Leetch is dabbling in broadcasting with MSG and NESN. Blaine Stoughton has settled into Cincinnati.

Read Full Article:  http://www.courant.com/sports/hockey/hc-jacobs-column-0311-20120311,0,3056046,full.column


Hartford Courant/Paul Doyle: Q&A with Mike Liut

Former Whalers goalie Mike Liut is returning to Hartford for induction in the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame. We caught up with Liut while he was traveling Friday and he answered some questions via email.

Our Q&A with the former goaltender:

Q: How and when did you hear about your induction into the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame, and were you surprised?

 A: I received an email from Mark Willand [of Whalers Sports & Entertainment inviting me to participate in the first induction class in 20 years.  I was surprised as the [Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame] concept had been inactive for so long and as time passes athletes tend to move on.  Example, when people think they recognize me and ask if I played in the NHL; I say yes, but that was in another life time. 


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