This week was a mix of highs and lows for the world of hockey. Legend Mike Bossy passed away, the NHLPA released its internal investigation into its handling of Kyle Beach, and a longtime play-by-play announcer made his final call. But a first-overall pick also made an impressive debut and women’s hockey might take a giant step forward next year. It’s all recapped in this week’s edition of Snap Shots.
1. Islanders Legend Mike Bossy Passes Away at 65
New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy passed away at age 65 after battling cancer. Bossy played 10 seasons with the Islanders (1977 to 1987), was a big part of the team’s four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships (1980-1983, won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 1978 and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1982. He also won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL’s “Most Gentlemanly” player three times and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
Further Reading: Mike Bossy Passes Away at 65
2. NHLPA Releases Internal Investigation
The National Hockey League Players’ Association released its internal investigation on its handling of Kyle Beach’s allegations of sexual abuse from Brad Aldrich, a former video coach for the Chicago Blackhawks. In short, the investigation of the NHLPA, conducted by law firm Cozen O’Connor, found that the NHLPA did no wrongdoing.
“…we cannot identify any individual wrongdoing or institutional failures of policy or procedure by either Fehr, NHLPA personnel, or the SABH program concerning the handling of Beach’s reports. Beach’s warnings about Aldrich were not addressed on account of miscommunication and misunderstanding, rather than any individual or systemic failure.” (from page 4 of the NHLPA’s Report)
The NHLPA dragged its heels a bit in publishing the report. It was initially supposed to be published on its website on Friday morning, but didn’t post it online until Friday afternoon due to a power outage. This was after the team reps voted 18-14 to release the findings, which makes me ask, why would almost 50% of the player reps want to keep this information private?
3. 1st-Overall Pick Owen Power Makes NHL Debut
Defenseman Owen Power, who was selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2021 Entry Draft, made his NHL debut on Tuesday night. It was an impressive showing for the 6-foot-6, 19-year-old blueliner, who logged 19:50 of ice time and was plus-2 in the Sabres’ 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Two nights later, Power scored his first NHL point, an assist, and has averaged about 22 minutes of ice time over his first four games. Power is making a seemingly-seamless transition from college hockey to the NHL.
Further Reading: Owen Power wows in debut, Sabres top Maple Leafs
4. Longtime ‘Hawks Voice Pat Foley Retires
Pat Foley, who has been TV play-by-play voice of the Chicago Blackhawks for nearly 40 years, called his last game on Thursday night. Foley was hired by the ‘Hawks in 1980 and was the TV and radio play-by-play announcer until 2006, when he was controversially fired by the team. He then worked two seasons for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. When Rocky Wirtz inherited the team from his late father William Wirtz in 2007, he brought Foley back as the team’s television announcer in 2008. Not counting the lockout year of 2004-05, Foley was with the Blackhawks for 39 years and the Wolves for two years, for a total of 41 years as a play-by-play broadcaster for hockey in Chicago. Fortunately, the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 Thursday night, allowing Foley to yell “Hawks Win!” one final time.
5. PWHPA-Backed Womens’ League in the Works
According to SportsNet’s Jeff Marek, the Professional Women Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) will launch a new women’s hockey league in 2023. This will not be affiliated with the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF). In fact, it would be in competition with the PHF, as there will be overlap in the two leagues’ schedules — and the new league will play its players higher salaries. Marek further states that the minimum salary in this new women’s league would be $35,000, while the average would be $55,000. Players would also get benefits. The league will consist of six teams which would play a 32-game schedule from January to April 2023.
Further Reading: PWHPA Preparing to Launch New League Structure
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■