Bellemare using NHL European Player Media Tour to grow hockey in France

PARIS, FRANCE – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was understandably the most excited among the 19 players at the NHL European Player Media Tour in Paris on Wednesday.

Born in the Paris suburb of Le Blanc-Mesnil, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward normally returns to the City of Lights once a year with his family to visit his sister. But like everyone else, he didn’t travel much the past two offseasons because of the coronarius pandemic.

So having the NHL use Paris for the first time as the European site to promote its upcoming season was a welcome opportunity for Bellemare to come home and bring more attention to the sport he loves in his native country.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I love it,” Bellemare said. “The only downside of it is the French media is not aware. I would’ve loved to have French media so we could use it also for growing the game in France because it’s needed.”

Bellemare, who lives in Skelleftea, Sweden, in the offseason, is one of three players born in France who played in the NHL last season, along with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier and Arizona Coyotes forward Antoine Roussel. He’s one of 13 born in the country to play in the NHL in its history.

With hockey rarely in the spotlight in France, the NHL is exploring ways to change that. In fact, the European Player Media Tour might be the start of the League having more of a presence here.

“Part of the reason we decided to come to Paris was in part another short summer, and we’re asking our players to make a commitment to capture media content to promote the game,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “In making that request you want to pick a location in Europe that players want to spend time in and bring guests to. Part of it is about accommodating player interests, but do we have an interest in making hockey bigger in France generally? Of course, we do.

“That starts at the grassroots level, more participation in hockey.”

It could eventually lead an NHL game in Paris.

“Obviously a very mature, wealthy economy here in Paris,” Deputy Commissioner Daly said. “It would be great to bring teams over here at some point in the future and play a game. Probably a preseason game at first, but that’s certainly on the radar screen, although maybe a longer-term radar.”

Kyle Turris Retires After 776 NHL Game Career, Joins BCHL Team in Front Office Role

BURNABY, BC -Kyle Turris is taking his talents to the front office for next season.

In a surprising bit of news, the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express unveiled a new hiring on Wednesday evening, announcing that former NHL forward Kyle Turris would be joining their front office as a special advisor to the GM while also serving as a development coach for the club.

The Express confirmed that Turris retired in the off-season.

“I am really excited to have Kyle joining the team on the management side of things and with the players,” said Express chief operating officer and GM Tali Campbell in a statement on Wednesday.

“Anytime you can get your Alumni involved at any level is great but for someone like Kyle to jump on board in this big way, is fantastic and will help us to grow our program and bring the Fred Page Cup back to Coquitlam.”

Turris last suited up for the Edmonton Oilers in the 2021-22 season, appearing in 23 games while racking up one goal and three assists for four points while logging a little over eight minutes in nightly ice time. A veteran of 776 games, Turris was once a useful top-six centre at the height of his powers, scoring 168 career goals and 257 assists for 425 points while playing for the Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, Ottawa Senators, and Nashville Predators.

Currently a free agent, it’s unclear as to whether the 33-year-old is indeed stepping away from the NHL for good now that he’s set to join the Express for this coming season. But after being bought out by the Predators in 2020 and spending the past two seasons on the fringe of the Oilers’ lineup, Turris seems to be putting the gears in motion for what his career will look like after hanging up the skates.

“The Express organization played a key role in my personal and professional growth,” said Turris in a statement following the announcement.

“I am excited about having the opportunity to work with Tali and Patrick as they help each player develop individually, while pursuing the Fred Page Cup as a team.”

Jacob Trouba named New York Rangers captain, first since McDonagh in 2018

NEW YORK, NY – Jacob Trouba was named captain of the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

He is the 28th player to be named captain in Rangers history. Mark Messier held the position twice, from 1991-97 and again from 2000-04.

“It’s a huge honor and something that means something, especially here in this organization with the history and the past players that have been captain before me,” Trouba said. “As a kid I grew up watching [Brian] Leetch and Messier, [Chris] Drury and [Jaromir] Jagr. … You come here and you learn more about the history of the guys that were before them. You see pictures, you see jerseys around this place.

“It’s now my turn to carry that legacy on for those guys.”

The 28-year-old defenseman is the Rangers’ first captain in more than four years, since defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 26, 2018.

“It was just the right time,” said Drury, who was captain from 2008-11 and has been general manager since May 5, 2021. “As a lot of our players have said publicly the last couple days, ‘Jake’ was basically doing the job for the last couple of seasons. We just felt it was appropriate and now is the time. We’re excited to see the ‘C’ on him, that’s for sure.”

Jets sign forward Jansen Harkins to a two-year contract

WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Jets announced today they have agreed to terms with forward Jansen Harkins on a two-year contract with an average annual value in the NHL of $850,000.

Harkins, 25, played a career high 77 games for the Jets in 2021-22 and also set new highs in goals (7), assists (6), and points (13). Harkins, Winnipeg’s second round pick (47th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, has played 132 career games for the Jets and posted 22 points (10G, 12A) and 24 penalty minutes, adding a goal in four playoff games. Harkins made his professional debut with the Manitoba Moose in 2015-16 and has since played 156 games for the Moose recording 82 points (27G, 55A) and 88 PIMs.

Harkins, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, played his entire junior career with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. He played 275 games and recorded 242 points (75G, 167A) and 164 PIMs, adding 16 points (4G, 12A) in 15 playoff games. Internationally, the North Vancouver, B.C. product won a gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka and he also won a bronze at the 2015 U18 World Championship.

Seattle Signs Magnus Hellberg to One Year Contract

SEATTLE, WA – Seattle Kracken GM Ron Francis announced they signed goaltender Magnus Hellberg to a one-year, one-way contract for $750,000.

Hellberg has been a standout goalie in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) the last several seasons. Magnus will battle for the backup goaltender position with the Kracken.

 

Jack Campbell is counting on himself

EDMONTON, AB – There isn’t a lot of chill from goaltender Jack Campbell when it comes to showing his affection, including spoiling his pets on their big day.

Speaking to the media for the first time on Wednesday as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, the 30-year-old answered for the iconic cat-birthday photo for his feline friend ‘Buds’ that made its rounds through social media earlier this year.

“I’ve been a cat dad for a few years now and my male cat Buds had a birthday,” he said with a smile. “My new fiancée, I just got engaged a few weeks ago so I’m still working on the lingo, the two of us decided to throw him a little birthday party and he had a nice time.”

Ian Cole Signs One Year, $3 Million Contract with Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA BAY, FL – Two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Ian Cole, has signed a one year, $3 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 33-year-old defenseman had 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 75 regular-season games and two points (one goal, one assist) in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Carolina Hurricanes last season.

Selected by the St. Louis Blues in the first round (No. 18) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Cole has 165 points (29 goals, 136 assists) in 670 regular-season games for the Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins and Blues and 26 points (two goals, 24 assists) in 110 playoff games.

Cole won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Andrew Copp Signs $28.125 Million Contract with Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT, MI – Andrew Copp signed a five-year, $28.125 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $5.625 million.

The 28-year-old forward had NHL career highs in goals (21), assists (32) and points (53) in 72 regular-season games for the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets, including 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 16 games after he was acquired in a trade by the Rangers on March 21.

He had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Copp said he believes Detroit can be successful soon.

Edmonton Oilers sign Jack Campbell to five-year contract

EDMONTON, AB – The Oilers have signed goaltender Jack Campbell to a five-year contract with an average annual value of $5 million, the team announced Wednesday.

The 30-year-old has recorded a 71-39-14 record in 135 career NHL games with nine shutouts, a 2.53 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. With the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, Campbell collected a 31-9-6 mark with five shutouts, a 2.64 GAA and .914 save percentage.

The Port Huron, Mich. native was selected 11th overall by the Dallas Stars at the 2010 NHL Draft.