Mike Halford


Here are the East finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

The nominations are in and we have a Top 10 for Kraft Hockeyville — watch the videos below to see the five rinks from the eastern half of the United States who will now vie to make the Top Four.

Marquette, MI

The Lakeview Arena was home to the 1991 NCAA championship, when Northern Michigan beat Boston University in a thrilling triple-OT classic.

Bridgewater, MA

The Bridgewater Ice Arena was opened in 1995, and has become a staple of the community. The rink is home to the popular Tier III Junior A Boston Bandits.

Harrisburg, PA

The Twin Ponds Family Complex opened in 1993, from the Hershey Junior Bears to the Capital City Vipers.

Lake Placid, NY

Home to some of the greatest moments in American hockey history. Pretty self-explanatory entry, no?

Rockville, MD

The Rockville Ice Arena is home to Washington Pride, an elite female traveling team that’s emerged as one of the best teams in the country.

Those are your five from the East. To find out more, visit krafthockeyville.com.

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    Here are the West finalists for Kraft Hockeyvile


    The nominations are in and we have a Top 10 for Kraft Hockeyville — watch the videos below to see the five rinks from the western half of the United States who will now vie to make the Top Four.

    Minnetonka, MN

    At the Pagel Activity Center, the motto is simple: Eat, sleep, play hockey — and repeat.

    Minot, ND

    The Maysa Arena is the only ice open year-round in Western North Dakota.

    Rapid City, SD

    Built in 1995 by a group of community volunteers, the Rushmore Thunderdome is seeking a new round of upgrades for what’s become a tremendously popular rink.

    Geneva, IL

    The Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva is located just 40 miles west of Chicago, and home to the USHL’s Chicago Steel.

    North Richland Hills, TX

    Affectionately referred to as the “shoebox” by locals, the Nytex Sports Center is home to the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas.

    Those are your five from the West. To find out more, visit krafthockeyville.com.

    WATCH LIVE: Flyers at Red Wings

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 15: Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 15, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Red Wings 4-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Getty Images

    We’ve spent most of today hyping up this game, so no need to go further — instead, here’s your reminder you can watch the game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET), or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.


    Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

    Goalie nods: Wings stick with Howard for crucial clash against Flyers

    Datsyuk focused on making playoffs, ‘not looking at next year’

    NHL on NBCSN: Huge playoff implications as Red Wings host Flyers

    OHL slaps Flint Firebirds owner with five-year suspension, $250K fine


    The Ontario Hockey League has come down hard on Flint owner Rolf Nilsen, delivering one of the most severe suspensions and largest fines in league history.

    From OHL commissioner David Branch:

    I am satisfied that Rolf Nilsen of the Flint Firebirds has on several occasions violated an agreement he signed on the 11th day of November, 2015, between himself and the OHL. Those violations are contrary to the best interests of the players, the Team, and the OHL.

    In view of these findings, in accordance with the OHL Constitution, I have ordered that:

    Rolf Nilsen be suspended by the OHL from being involved directly or indirectly with hockey operations of the Flint Firebirds for five (5) years effective immediately;

    The Flint Firebirds forfeit a first round draft pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection (third pick overall);

    A fine be paid by Rolf Nilsen to the League in the amount of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00);

    If it is determined by the League that Rolf Nilsen has violated this Order, the League may order Rolf Nilsen to sell one hundred percent (100%) of the ownership interest of the Flint Firebirds.

    Nilsen came under fire this season for firing his entire coaching staff on Nov. 8, rehiring them again the next day, then firing them again in February.

    The final action led to the OHL suspending Nilsen indefinitely.

    According to reports, Nilsen first fired his head coaches because he didn’t believe his son — Hakon, a defenseman — was receiving enough playing time. In the aftermath, the OHL had Nilsen sign the aforementioned agreement, which “prevented him from firing his coaches again without OHL consultation, but also forbid him from meddling in hockey-related activities,” per TSN.

    That agreement, obviously, was breached.

    In today’s ruling, the OHL said that if Nilsen violates this latest order, he may be forced to sell 100 percent interest in the team (he’s not allowed to apply for reinstatement for three years).

    The league also stated the “stewardship, supervision and direction” of Flint’s hockey operations would fall under Branch, while Joe Birch — who has filled the Firebirds’ Director of Hockey Ops role since February — will stay on in that same capacity.

    Flint is expected to name a new GM, head coach and more hockey ops staffers in the near future.

    Goalie nods: Wings stick with Howard for crucial clash against Flyers

    Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, right, celebrates with Niklas Kronwall (55), of Sweden, and Tomas Tatar (21), of Slovakia, after a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in an  NHL hockey game Friday, April 1, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

    It’s a light night on the NHL calendar — just three games all told — but it’s an evening loaded with playoff implications, as the Red Wings host the Flyers in a key battle for Eastern Conference wild card positioning.

    Philly’s decision in goal was relatively easy. It’ll be Steve Mason making his 10th straight start. With Michal Neuvirth hurt and the untested Anthony Stolarz backing up, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol didn’t really have an alternative option.

    His counterpart, Detroit’s Jeff Blashill, had a more challenging decision.

    The choice was either to stick with Jimmy Howard — who’s started four straight and won two in a row — or go back to Petr Mrazek, who played at a Vezina-caliber level through the first half of the season.

    The choice?

    Howard, who is coming off a stellar game against Toronto in which he stopped 32 of 34 shots, good for a .940 save percentage.

    While it’s a massive contest for both teams, Detroit has a bit more on the line. The Wings have just two games left after this — both on the road, in Boston and New York — while the Flyers have three games left: Thursday versus Toronto, Saturday versus Pittsburgh and their season finale on Sunday, in Brooklyn.

    Oh yeah, Detroit also has its streak of 24 consecutive playoff appearances on the line. Forgot to mention that one.


    — Big night in Edmonton, as the team and fans bid farewell to Rexall. Jacob Markstrom is expected to play for the visiting Canucks, while Cam Talbot is likely to start for the Oilers.

    — It’s Sergei Bobrovsky versus Garret Sparks as the Blue Jackets take on the Leafs in Toronto.