Cam Tucker

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  New Las Vegas NHL franchise owner Bill Foley addresses the media during the Board Of Governors Press Conference prior to the 2016 NHL Awards at Encore Las Vegas on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NHL's board of governors approved expanding to Las Vegas, making the franchise the 31st team in the league. The team will start play during the 2017-18 season and play at the newly built T-Mobile Arena.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Foley says Las Vegas NHL team having trademark issues with name


Las Vegas owner Bill Foley would love to have a name for his expansion team, and he’s open to ideas.

Three weeks after the NHL awarded an expansion team to Foley, he said his group is having trademark issues and wants to settle on a name quickly. After naming George McPhee as his general manager, Foley expressed some impatience at how the process has stalled.

“We have a lot of names in mind, but a lot of the ones I really liked are trademarked, so that’s a little bit of an issue,” Foley said Wednesday. “I’m happy to take any suggestions anyone has for a name, particularly one that’s not already trademarked.”

Foley is a 1967 graduate of West Point and has expressed an affinity for the name “Black Knights” as a nod to the Army. Canadian sports network TSN reported Wednesday that “Knights” was likely to be the name of the Las Vegas team, which will begin play in 2017-18.


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After agreeing to pay the league a $500 million expansion fee, Foley joked that he should be able to pick the name. Again he reiterated that there won’t be a pick-the-name contest but cited the urgency to get one.

“Our goal is to have a logo and a team name ASAP,” Foley said, adding “I didn’t realize how complicated it was. It is complicated and we’re working our way through the process right now as we speak.”

Another ongoing process is getting a top minor league affiliate. American Hockey League president and CEO David Andrews said in a telephone interview that there would be a 31st team for 2017-18 to even out with the NHL, although Las Vegas could take a current team or a new franchise.

Foley mentioned Salt Lake City as a potential option geographically close to Las Vegas.

There are plenty of Las Vegas-esque names out there, but Foley said the NHL made it clear it should have no association with gambling. Foley knows what he wants.

“It should represent Las Vegas, it should represent the environment, it should be unique to Las Vegas,” he said. “But it needs to be a name that people hear the name and say, `These guys are tough, these guys are going to win, these guys are dedicated.’ So I need to have that kind of momentum, that kind of philosophy behind the name.”

After enduring through family tragedy last summer, Laberge signs entry-level deal with Flyers

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25:  Pascal Laberge reacts after being selected 36th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia Flyers have signed 2016 second-round pick Pascal Laberge to an entry-level contract, the team announced Thursday.

Laberge, a six-foot-one-inch, 175 -pound winger, was taken 36th overall, after scoring 23 goals and 68 points in 56 games this season with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.

His story, however, goes beyond just putting pen to paper on a new contract.

In a gripping piece for the Players’ Tribune, Laberge detailed the tragic passing of his stepmom after a brief battle with cancer, his father’s prostate cancer diagnosis and his mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis. Below is one excerpt.

From the Players’ Tribune:

Last summer, after we found out about my stepmom’s cancer, I had a terrible training camp. Even at the beginning of the season, I just wasn’t myself. I always tried my best, of course, but it was tough.

Then, one day, my Victoriaville coach, Bruce Richardson, called me into his office for a talk. He said: “Hockey is the best sport in the world, and when you’re at the rink you should only think about hockey. When you get out of the rink, you can think about everything else. But if you perform well on the ice, that’s going to help your family feel better and make them happy.”

So I took that to heart, and I started playing hockey again the way I know I can play. I focused on being a good leader for my team, and doing everything I could to make my family proud.

“I think it’s been a hard year for me but I did what I can. I played good hockey, I think, when I got all clear in my head that my parents are OK. It’s going to be fine,” he told reporters at the draft.

“I’m just proud to be a Flyer now.”

Hurricanes sign RFA d-man Murphy to two-year, $1.575M deal

Ryan Murphy
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The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Ryan Murphy to a two-year contract, worth a total value of $1.575 million, the team announced Thursday.

The $787,500 AAV — as per General Fanager — represents a decrease from the $1.313 million AAV from his entry-level deal with Carolina, after that team took him 12th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.

Murphy, 23, hasn’t played a full season for the Hurricanes, appearing in 35 games with 10 assists last season. He also suffered a concussion in November.

He split the season between the Hurricanes and their AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, where he had seven goals and 24 points in 32 games.

Despite still looking to play in his first full NHL campaign, Murphy has shown at the junior level and in the minors that he brings an offensive style to the back end.

That’s certainly an element the Hurricanes want to see from him on their blue line, which already includes Justin Faulk and Noah Hanifin (not to mention prospects Haydn Fleury and Roland McKeown looking for their opportunities).

“Ryan is still a young player at 23, and has shown he can contribute offensively from the blue line,” said Hurricanes GM Ron Francis in a statement. “He has developed through our system and we look forward to seeing his game continue to grow.”


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Jack Riley, the Penguins’ first GM, passes away

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Jack Riley, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-ever general manager, has passed away, the club announced Thursday.

He was 97 years old.

Originally from Toronto, Riley served as Penguins GM for two different stints, from 1967 to 1970 and again from 1972 to 1974, and was the club’s interim president and executive director, as per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

From the Penguins:

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Jack Riley. Jack served as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first general manager in 1967 and played an important trailblazing role in the club’s history. He occupied a regular seat in the press box until just a few years ago, was a proud and beloved member of the Penguins alumni association and is fondly remembered by former players, coaches, scouts, office staff, arena workers and fans. As the Penguins approach our 50th anniversary season, we are humbled to know that the franchise was built on the shoulders of hard-working people like Jack. We send out condolences to his family and many friends, both in Pittsburgh and throughout the hockey community. Jack Riley will be missed.

Kings sign Danish forward Patrick Bjorkstrand to one-year deal

OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 11:  Patrick Bjorkstrand of Denmark is dejected after the IIHF World Championship group B match between Slovenia and Denmark at CEZ Arena on May 11, 2015 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Kings have signed Danish forward Patrick Bjorkstrand to a one-year contract.

The Kings announced the deal Thursday.

Bjorkstrand earned the deal at the Kings’ development camp earlier this month. He spent the past three seasons with Medvescak Zagreb, the Kontinental Hockey League team based in Zagreb, Croatia.

He has played for Denmark in the past four World Championship tournaments. Bjorkstrand has never played professionally in North America, but he played alongside Kings captain Anze Kopitar on a Swedish club during the 2012 NHL lockout.

Bjorkstrand’s younger brother, Oliver, was Columbus’ third-round pick in 2013. He scored a key overtime goal for the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters in the Calder Cup Finals last month.