Survey reveals spike in worldwide hockey players


The International Ice Hockey Federation shared its survey of players on Thursday, and it’s mostly good news for the sport outside of Canada, as QMI Agency notes.

About 1.64 million people are registered as playing the sport, which marks a 2.7 percent increase from last year. Among traditional hockey countries,* the most dramatic increases happened in the Czech Republic (up 13.28 percent) and Finland (up 17.68 percent).

The only bad news is that enrollment dipped in Canada from 625,125 players to 617,107. One probably shouldn’t worry about that decline too much, as Canada still covers more than a third of the world’s hockey players according to those numbers.

Granted, there might be more cause for concern if that number dips significantly each year.

Overall, though, it’s a great bit of news for the sport … especially since the 2014 Winter Olympics are likely to inspire more to lace up some skates.

* – The report also notes that South Korea’s enrollment improved by 28.73 percent and Australia increased its number of rinks from 17 to 20.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: