EDMONTON – (Wire Service Report by The Sports Xchange) – Former Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference officially announced his retirement after 16 seasons in the NHL. He retired as a member of the Edmonton Oilers where he spent the last four seasons with the Oilers and served as the team’s captain from 2013-15. The 38-year-old Alberta native recorded six goals, 26 assists and 108 penalty minutes in 147 career games with Edmonton.
Ference played just six games in 2015-16 before undergoing season-ending hip surgery, and he did not play any games for the Oilers this past season..
“As I graduate from my time of playing in the NHL, I realize I have the problem of being unable to properly thank the hundreds of people who have helped me achieve my goal of playing in the best league in the world,” the 5-foot-11, 184-pound Ference said. “No one gets here on their own, especially average-sized guys with average skills. If you think you deserve a thank you from me, you probably do. … Thanks!
“My girls, Ava and Stella, and my wife, Krista, however do deserve a proper thanks and my infinite gratitude. They tended my broken bones and bruised ego more times than I can count and gave me unending love and support even when I missed a Christmas concert for a road trip.”
Ference accumulated 225 points (43 goals, 182 assists) and 753 penalty minutes in 907 career contests with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins and Oilers. He was selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 1997 NHL draft.
“Lastly, thank you to Pittsburgh, Calgary … Boston and Edmonton,” Ference said. “Your love of our sport provided me with an incredible stage to play on and your cities will always feel like home to me. Hockey fans really are amazing!
TAMPA – (Staff report from Official News Release) – Super League Gaming, the global community platform that offers accessible esports competitions, content and social interactions for amateur gamers, today announced that it has received $15 million in Series C funding from Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom, DMG Entertainment, a SoftBank-managed fund, Toba Capital, and multiple traditional professional sports team owners including Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and aXiomatic, a premier esports entity backed by professional sports and media leaders. To date, Super League has raised more than $28 million, with earlier participation from investors including Cinemark USA, Inc., ET Capital and Quadrant Management.
“Esports is exploding in popularity around the world, but the current landscape is lacking an open, easy
access point for aspiring gamers and enthusiasts to connect and participate,” said Ann Hand, CEO of
Super League Gaming. “With our online and live in-person events, we’re leading the way in bringing
gamers into esports in a safe, fun and socially rewarding way. Our city-based clubs add a sense of
belonging and fandom currently missing from esports.”
Founded in 2014 with its initial offering of Minecraft events in movie theaters for kids, Super League has
now hosted more than 30,000 kids in friendly competition over six seasons of play. In November of 2016,
Super League expanded its offering by introducing the world’s most played video game, League of
Legends, to its competitive events series in partnership with Riot Games. There has been one season of
League of Legends intercity tournament play, with the second season launching online in July in 12
markets across the United States.
“We are excited to enter the world of esports through our relationship with Super League, which has a
loyal and growing fan base of kids,” said Matthew Evans, Executive Vice President of Digital and New
Business, Nickelodeon. “Nickelodeon is interested in esports because gaming is an important passion
point for kids today, and forging this partnership with Super League puts us at the forefront of where kids
will be playing next.”
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
NASHVILLE — As 58-plus minutes ticked by in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final without a goal, Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Patric Hornqvist changed nothing about his style of play.
“You just play the right way,” he said. “One bounce can change the whole game.”
And so it did for Hornqvist and the now back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
The former Nashville Predator scored at 18:25 of the third period to snap a scoreless tie and lead Pittsburgh to a 2-0 win at raucous Bridgestone Arena, giving the Penguins a 4-2 series win over the Predators.
In becoming the first team since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to repeat as Cup champs, the Penguins did it with excellent defense and the occasional dollop of luck every title team needs.
Center Sidney Crosby, who scored eight goals and dished out 19 assists in 24 playoff games, was named Conn Smythe Trophy winner as postseason most valuable player for the second straight year.
Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray stopped 27 shots for his second shutout in as many games and the fourth of his career in the postseason. He was brilliant during a 3:28 stretch of power play time by Nashville midway through the third period, coming up with four stops.
And the one time Murray couldn’t stop a puck from entering the net, the quick whistle of referee Kevin Pollock prevented the goal for him.
Early in the second period, center Colton Sissons appeared to put the Predators on the board by poking in a loose puck from the crease. However, Pollock, working in his second Cup final, lost sight of the puck and blew his whistle.
That nullified the goal and sent the sellout crowd, which by one unofficial count chucked eight catfish on the ice during the evening, into a frenzy.
“Obviously, it’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do? It just (stinks) that we’re on the losing side of it,” Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said.
It wasn’t that the Predators lacked for chances beyond the disallowed marker. Murray stoned Sissons on a breakaway later in the period, and he also denied Craig Smith on a breakaway.
After Nashville misfired on its extended power play time, it nearly scored with about six minutes left. Subban teed up Sissons for a wrister in the right faceoff circle that beat Murray to the glove side but clanged off the right post.
As the clock slipped under two minutes, the first overtime period of the series looked like a good possibility. Then Pittsburgh, as it often does, struck with a quick counterattack.
On the tiebreaking tally, Justin Schultz’s shot was wide but Hornqvist, known for his willingness to score tough goals while withstanding heavy contact, got to the puck at the goal line. From just behind the right post, he banked the puck in off of goaltender Pekka Rinne for his fifth playoff marker.
Predators coach Peter Laviolette challenged the play for goalie interference, but the goal stood after a short review.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better for me,” Hornqvist said. “The last minute or so on the bench was very emotional for me.”
Carl Hagelin sealed it with an empty-netter at 19:46, his second of the playoffs. Nashville fans, already sullen at the disallowed goal and the prospect of the Penguins celebrating on their ice, erupted in a shower of towel- and shirt-throwing disgust.
Moments later, Pittsburgh players were firing gloves and helmets toward the ceiling, celebrating a hard-earned Cup. They played 25 of a possible 28 games, surviving Game 7s with the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators before fending off the Predators in a series that mostly lived up to expectations in spite of largely lopsided final scores.
“We went through a lot of adversity and we were able to overcome each challenge thrown our way,” Murray said. “It says a lot to the character of this team that we were able to compete, no matter what bad stuff happened.”
Rinne saved 27 of 28 shots but lost for just the second time in 11 postseason home games.
“It’s a tough feeling to watch their dream come true when you were so close to it yourself,” Nashville forward Filip Forsberg said.
NOTES: Pittsburgh’s 5-0 road record with a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup is the best record in NHL history in that situation. Only Montreal has won more Cups on the road with 10. … Nashville D Ryan Ellis, who sustained an undisclosed injury in the second period of Game 5, was back in uniform and in the starting lineup for Game 6. … Notable scratches for the Penguins were D Mark Streit, D Chad Ruhwedel and C Nick Bonino. … Notable Predators scratches were RW PA Parenteau, LW Harry Zolnierczyk and LW Vernon Fiddler.