Canadiens legend Henri Richard, 11-time Stanley Cup champion, posthumously diagnosed with CTE

Hockey Hall of Famer Henri Richard had stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy at the time of his death in March 2020, the family of the Montreal Canadiens legend announced Wednesday.

“I hope my father’s brain donation and diagnosis will lead to more prevention efforts, research, and eventually a CTE treatment,” said Richard’s son, Denis Richard, in a statement published by the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “I want people to understand this is a disease that impacts athletes far beyond football.”

CTE is described as “a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated traumatic brain injuries,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Richard, who won an NHL-record 11 Stanley Cups, died at the age of 84 and was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time. According to the foundation’s press release, 16 of the 17 NHL players studied have been diagnosed with CTE, including Steve Montador, Ralph Backstrom, Bob Probert and Stan Mikita.

Richard retired in 1975, and helmets were not made mandatory by the NHL until 1979.

Richard’s former Montreal teammate, fellow Hall of Famer Ken Dryden, has been asking for the National Hockey League, as well as hockey at other levels, to severely penalize all hits to the head because of the long term damages they cause.

“I played with Henri. We won two Cups together. He fits none of the easy stereotypes, checks none of the easy boxes,” Dryden said in a statement. “Played in a different time, old-time hockey, all the fights? Not Henri. Big hitter? Not Henri. Like Stan Mikita and Ralph Backstrom, he was a great skater, and physical, but he had a playmaker’s mind, and played that way. But all those hits to the head. We have to understand, whatever the sport, a hit to the head is not a good thing.”

Coachella Valley Firebirds ask fans to stop eating chocolate while team faces Hershey Bears

Teams will do whatever it takes to win a championship. The American Hockey League’s Coachella Valley Firebirds are taking that mantra to a completely different level.

According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Firebirds are actually asking their fans to give up all forms of chocolate while the team is facing the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup Final. The team called for “a boycott and removal of all chocolate in the Coachella Valley, including chocolate bars, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, chocolate donuts, and chocolate chip cookies.”

The Bears, who are the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals are from Hershey, Penn., which is the home of the popular Hershey candy company. As a result of the Bears calling “Chocolatetown USA” home, the Firebirds decided to come up with a campaign in which they’ve asked the team’s fanbase to stay away from the sugary treats for a few weeks.

“Our fans have been fantastic all year in terms of buying in and kind of doing whatever we kind of ask of them. So we were thinking of something to get a little rivalry going with the Hershey Bears,” Firebirds director of broadcast and communications Evan Pivnick said. “We knew there was going to be one on the ice. So we settled on a chocolate boycott in the Coachella Valley off the ice. Don’t buy any. Don’t eat any. Just one of those old school little [gimmicks] to keep it fun and light.”

Chocolate of course isn’t literally banned, as fans can still purchase the sweet treat at Coachella Valley home games. However, the team made a rather hilarious statement on social media regarding Hershey chocolate.

In a video that was posted to Coachella Valley’s Twitter account prior to the series getting underway, the team’s mascot, Fuego, was shown destroying some chocolate. Fuego could be seen throwing some of the chocolate in the trash, but there was one small problem. Some of the candy included M&Ms, which are made by Mars — not Hershey.

PSA: no chocolate allowed 🔥 #FiredUp

— x – Coachella Valley Firebirds (@Firebirds) June 7, 2023
Since the Firebirds can’t exactly ban chocolate, they’ve also put together a chocolate exchange program. If fans bring chocolate to the arena, they’ll receive a bag of Brandini Toffee popcorn, which is made in nearby Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The chocolate ban was thought to be working in the early going of the series. The Firebirds outscored the Bears 9-0 in the opening two games of the Calder Cup Final and took a 2-0 series lead.

However, once the series shifted to Hershey, the Bears’ fortunes seemed to change. The Bears rallied to win Game 3, 5-4, in overtime thanks to a game-winning goal from forward Riley Sutter. Hershey continued to climb back into the Calder Cup Final in Game 4 as they earned a 3-2 win over the Firebirds thanks to a two-goal performance from forward Mike Vecchione.

The Calder Cup Final is currently tied at 2-2 with the Bears set to host the Firebirds in Game 5 in Hershey before the series moves back to Coachella Valley.

Golden Knights will be challenged by contenders in West

Congratulations to the Vegas Golden Knights, who will have their names etched on the Stanley Cup after an incredible postseason run. They overcame adversity to capture a small slice of immortality, the likes of which most human beings can only dream about.

And now it’s time to look ahead to next season.

This article is for the other 31 fan bases, who, upon seeing the Golden Knights kiss and drink out of the Cup, wondered what it might take for their team to be there in 2024. The future offers hope and optimism.

These way-too-early 2023-24 NHL Power Rankings did require some degree of forecasting, since they are coming before the draft and free agency. Which teams have players aging into their prime? Which ones have the flexibility and cap space to improve this summer? Did the team show growth this past season? Those things and more were taken into consideration when peeking ahead to next fall.

How to watch World Cup warm-up online, TV channel, live stream info, start time, roster

Team USA will conclude its preparations for the 2023 FIBA World Cup on Sunday with a friendly against Germany in Abu Dhabi. This is the last of five tune-up games for the Americans, who have so far made easy work of their competition, winning every game by double digits.

They’ll be looking to do the same against Germany, though this figures to be a slightly tougher test than many of their previous contests. Germany is ranked No. 11 in the world by FIBA, and features a number of NBA players, including Dennis Schroder, Franz Wagner, Mo Wagner and Daniel Theis.

Team USA has been in fine form during their preparations for the World Cup, and most recently dispatched a Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Greece by 22 points. Anthony Edwards led the way in that game with 21 points, and has now led the Americans in scoring in three of the four friendlies. The Timberwolves star has emerged as the go-to scoring option for this team.

Another encouraging sign for the Americans in the win over Greece was that they shot 11-of-26 from 3-point land. Outside shooting has been an issue during these friendlies, but they finally started to knock down some shots on Friday. Let’s see if they can keep that trend going against Germany.

Team USA has had an easy time during these friendlies. Puerto Rico was overmatched, and both Slovenia (Luka Doncic) and Greece (Giannis Antetokounmpo) were missing their star players. Only Spain has truly tested them, but even that resulted in a 10-point win. Germany should provide a challenge somewhere between Spain and Slovenia/Greece. Expect Team USA to win by 12-15 points.