Archive for the ‘Hockey’ Category

Randwick Rugby Club Trials Concussion Patch

randwick concussion patch

Randwick Rugby Club is the first Australian team to trial a new concussion patch that monitors data from head impacts and allows medical staff to make better decisions around head injury treatment and prevention.

The first grade team wore the small patches behind their ears at the opening round of the Shute Shield competition last weekend, and will continue to use it in every game from now on.

The X-patch measures G-force and rotational acceleration to monitor the force, length and location of every blow to the head. The small digital device was created in 2007 by Seattle-based X2 Biosystems for American football and was used for research by the Auckland University of Technology. This study involved examining every hit sustained by a single amateur rugby union team in New Zealand throughout the 2013 season, and was published by the American Journal of Medicine.

The research found that across a 19-match season, the premier-level team experienced 20,687 impacts to the head greater than 10g, which is approximately the impact of a light punch. That equates to a massive average of 77 impacts to the head per player-position per match.

4,452 of these impacts were “above the injury-risk limit” – and this was in the amateur rugby union league.

Wearing the X-patch, according to Dr Matt Matava of the NFL Physician Society, “has allowed us to accurately diagnose concussions immediately following an injury [6 minutes after a hit]. The software also allows up to compare the players’ injury date to their baseline in order to asses changes in mental status.”

The X-patch was adopted by London rugby union team, Saracens, in January. It has also already appeared in NFL, NHL, US Lacrosse and in the coming season will be used by all 20 major league soccer teams in the United States.

The technology is currently focused on simply monitoring head impacts and acquiring data. However, Dr Adrian Cohen of NeckSafe, said at the Randwick club season launch on Thursday: “one of the things that interested me was the role of technology and actually getting some objectivity into what is going on.”

“We can see what is going on and get a firm understanding of the things that lead to injury and what we can do,” said Dr Cohen.

Eventually, when adopted more widely, this technology could revolutionise our understanding of and ability to prevent head injuries in contact sports. It will help in particular to monitor the smaller, repetitive hits, which can do even more damage than the obvious knock out hits.


 

First ‘Diver’ Named and Shamed in NHL

James Neal prior to joining the Predators. Image: en.wikipedia.org

Nashville Predators’ player James Neal has become the first man fined by the National Hockey League for diving in a game.

Neal has long been known for ‘embellishing’ contact and thereby pointing a traditionally hard-man’s game in the direction of South American soccer. Against the San Jose sharks, however, he was a little too flagrant, cartwheeling to the ice after a light tap on the leg.

In a post-match review the NHL decided to slap a $2,000 sanction on him for bringing the game into disrepute.

Given that Neal makes $5 million per season, the fine will hurt less than going down in history as the first man ever to be caught diving.

In recent times there have been an increasing number of players gaming the referee rather than the opponents. The NHL is determined to root it out of the game, branch and stem.

In other hockey news Richard Panik, from the Toronto Maple Leafs stunned his hometown crowd by scoring a highlight reel goal and finishing the game duking it out against the boards with Detroit defenceman Brendon Smith.

Since joining the Leafs Panik has shown impressive stick control, jaw-dropping speed, and utter abandon when laying down the law against his opponents.

On Saturday he bought the hometown crowd to their feet as he blitzed through the line of defence and taunted goalie Petr Mrazek. He switched the puck left and right like a casino dealer shuffling cards before slapping it between the goalies’ pads and setting off the siren.

Not content with just winning the game 4-1, Panik decided to show the Detroit defenceman Brendon Smith who the boss was in the dying minutes of the game.

Both men dropped gloves and set-to with some heavy and telling blows before wrestling each other to the ice. And didn’t the Toronto crowd love it!

The Leafs are firming as serious Playoff contenders having won their last six matches.

 

Germany Upset Kookaburras to Move Into Hockey World Final

Australian Mens Hockey Image: en.wikipedia.org

Germany has stunned and upset Australia’s hopes for a sixth successive Champions Trophy hockey title, downing the Kookaburras 3-2 in the semi-finals.

Germany, the current Olympic gold medallist fielded a side with seven 2013 junior Word Cup winners. They blasted past the Australian defence, scoring two goals by the ninth minute. The goals by Timur Oruz and Mas Grambusch had the Kookaburras on their heels and scrambling for a plan.

Fresh out from the half-time break and the Germans slotted home another goal, through Florian Fuchs, to go up 3-0.

With nothing left to lose the Australian went on the offensive.

A goal to Chris Ciriello in the 34th minute and another to Nicholas Budgeon, in the 42nd, put the Australians back in the game.

But the plucky, hard-working Germans weren’t about to let the game go. Having beaten the Kookaburras 4-2 in the 2012London Olympics semi-finals they knew what was necessary to shut out the game.

The German team managed to hang on for a thrilling victory 4-3. They now move on to face the winner of the much anticipated India – Pakistan clash on Saturday.

Markus Weise, Germany’s coach was thrilled – and emotionally exhausted – by the match. He has been working closely with his team of young bloods since their lacklustre sixth place in the World Cup in June.

“We were lucky to be 3-0 ahead because the second-half belonged entirely to Australia. I am gla the boys fought it out till the end.”

Asked who he’d prefer his young team to meet in the finals, Wiese answered he hoped it was the hosts. “At home we play in a silent stadium with not more than 500 people watching.

“But here have 7,000 screaming fans making a lot of noise. It will be good experience for the bouts.”

Ice Hockey Player has Part of Ear Ripped-Off in Game

Rangers’ Kevin Klein. Image: slam.canoe.ca

New York Ranger Ice Hockey star Kevin Klein had part of his ear ripped off in a match against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The defenceman was struck by a high stick that tore off the top part of his ear sending blood streaming down the left side of his neck.

Referees ordered him off.

But rather than do the sensible thing and go to hospital Klein had the team doctor stitch it back. He replaced his blood soaked jersey and returned to the rink.

It was just as well too. The Rangers had blown a 3 – 1 lead, allowing the Penguins to slot home two goals in 24 seconds of one another deep in the third period.

The two teams battled it out through the fourth quarter, with Klein re-joining them in the dying minutes.

Klein’s toughness paid off as he was the one to drive home the winning goal in overtime.

Whether you were a Penguins or Rangers fan you had to hand it to the hardy defenceman

Klein isn’t even sure how many stitches the team doctor needed to reattach the ear. It was all done so fast. The blood was pumping and he just wanted to get back into the game.

Now that’s commitment!

Kevin Klein post- match. Image: www.sportsnet.ca

Kevin Klein post- match. Image: www.sportsnet.ca

WA Hockey Player Dies from Ball striking Her Head

Image: en.wikipedia.org

24 year-old Lizzie Watkins died on the weekend. One of Western Australia’s top young hockey players was struck by the ball after it deflected off her stick.

Watkins, a defender for the North Coast Raiders, was engaged in a state league match against the Victoria Park Panthers. She sustained her injuries after the ball deflected off her own stick and hit her in the back of the head. Watkins slumped to the ground, unconscious, immediately. Her sister, and teammate, Catherine Carrol, rushed to her aid. But no one was able to revive her.

Ms Watkins passed away in the ambulance as she was being rushed to hospital.

Mark Anderson, Chief Executive of Hockey Australia released this statement to the press:

“On behalf of the entire hockey community I would like to express our support and sympathies to the Watkins family at this very sad time. Our thoughts extend to all involved at the North Coast Raiders hockey Club.

“Hockey is a sport that is known for its strong sense of community I know that members of our two national teams and players involved at all levels of our sport are saddened by this tragic event.

“The Kookaburras wore black arm bands in the final of the London VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament overnight at Olympic Park out of respect for Lizzie and her family.

“I know that our community both nationally and particularly in Western Australia will pull together to provide as much support as possible to all involved.”

Tributes have flowed into social media accounts used by or associated with the fallen hockey star. Players and fans of all sports are saddened by the freak tragedy.

NHL Player Phil Kessel in Trouble Again

Phil Kessel at the Boston Bruins. Image: en.wikipedia.org

Phil Kessel has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The NHL giant has found a home in the Mapleleafs after being traded by the Bruins in 2010-11. This year he is the fourth highest goal scorer in the legue; behind greats like Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin and Corey Perry. And he is set to earn US $64 million in his eight-year deal.

Despite all this Kessel is an angry man. And he has now made the kind of enemy who can bring him down.

On Saturday the Leafs lost to the league cellar-dwellers, the Sabres, 6-2. If that wasn’t bad enough, he then blew off the post-match interview.

“Get away from me,” Kessel growled at reporter Jonas Siegel.

Siegel was unfazed. The TSN 1050 reporter told his Toronto audience, “If he wants to do things like this, that’s totally OK. But from this point I’m not going to hide the way he acts anymore. He’s perpetually unavailable. He’s perpetually borderline rude.”

Kessel returned to the microphone and ranted at Siegel, “I think YOU have the responsibility to talk. But I don’t think you guys need me every single day. I don’t know what you need out of me … I don’t have too much to say after losses like that, right?”

But it can be argued that losses like the one just experienced by the Maple leafs allow players to show their character. Of course they are going to be disheartened, but rather than trotting out the same rehearsed victory speech – We stuck to our game plan, we’ve been working hard, I’d like to congratulate all my teammates etc., – they get to reflect, honestly and openly.

Because, in the end, it’s the players fans identify with, not the sport.

Unhappy Kessel fan. Image: www.flickr.com

Unhappy Kessel fan. Image: www.flickr.com

Ice Hockey Player Does Break Dance Celebration a Risky Move

Perth Thunder ice hockey player Ric Del Basso stunned the crowd with a slamming goal to win a shootout in the sixth round of the Australian Hockey league. But what came next had the world gasping.

Ric Del Basso - Ice hockey break dancer. Photo: tvasports.ca

Ric Del Basso – Ice hockey break dancer. Photo: tvasports.ca

After slotting home the goal Del Basso got some speed up and slid on his head, like a break dancer. It was understandably difficult for him to balance considering he had a stick in one hand and the slippery nature of his helmet against the ice. But Del Basso wbbled on his head for over ten meters.

His goal celebration prompted bemusement from sports commentators around the world. Many have questioned the sense behind doing so.

The break dancing sensation of the eighties and nineties left behind a litany of serious neck and back injuries. Medical practitioners warned against it at the time, but were unable to protect people against themselves. Attempts were even made at the time to outlaw the practice.

Medical professionals say the spine has evolved to take pressure top downwards. Inverting yourself effectively reverses this. The pressure on the spine in this position is unnatural and therefore very risky.

Inverting yourself while moving along a hard surface is virtually daring an injury to happen.

For Del Basso it was all just a bit of fun. He is unlikely to be disciplined for the stunt by team management as he is the co-owner of the Thunder. But he may receive a quiet word from the league organisers.

U.S. vs Canada Ice Hockey Tour of Australia

Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and, next Saturday, Brisbane will play host to five match international ice hockey (two matches are to be held in Perth). The Canadian and U.S teams will be on display to give Australian audiences a taste of what they are missing.

With the Winter Olympic hockey final between the two great rivals being described as, ‘State of Origin on steroids’ Outrageous Sports decided to illustrate a comparison between the two sports.

Rule changes to rugby league are making the game more like South American soccer. Taking dives, milking penalties, and faking injuries for a free substitution are now an accepted part of the game. The no-punch rule has put player aggression on the same level as school girls pulling each other’s hair.

Contrast this with ice hockey:

Zenon Konopka. Photo: www.senstown.com

Zenon Konopka. Photo: www.senstown.com

Enforcer and Captain of the U.S. side Zenon Konopka (or as we at Outrageous Sports like to call him: Mr Konopka) has had his nose broken 14 times, endured more than 600 stitches being put in his face, has shattered both hands and broken a shoulder from on-ice fights. During his 346 games Mr Konopka has attracted 1082 minutes in the sin bin. But he admits he wouldn’t change a thing.

Violence has a place in ice hockey. And while it is discouraged with penalties it is not rooted out entirely (as it is in rugby league). Hockey players know the consequences for their actions; if they choose to perform those actions anyway then they must face those consequences.

This allows a factor of physical intimidation (something rugby league used to have) and on-ice rivalries to emerge; something absolutely enthralling for fans of the game.

Whether the U.S. and Canadian teams will bring back the biff, something sorely lacking and lamented from Australian sports, remains to be seen. But audiences can be assured of high energy, dizzyingly fast, skilful action as some of the best hockey players in the world strut their stuff.

Kookaburras Top of the World

Photo www.hockey.org (Daniel Carson)

Photo www.hockey.org (Daniel Carson)

The Dutch may have scored the first goal in their world championship game against the Australians, but it was the Aussies who scored the next six!

In what became the most one-sided World Championship Hockey final in history the Kookaburras systematically demolished the Netherlands; outplaying their opposition all over the field.

Jamie Dyer, five times world player of the year, described this win as better even than the team’s 2010 win, “For me this is better than 2010. To win a World Cup 6 – 1 is incredible. It’s unheard of,” Dwyer said to AAP.

Understated as always, team Coach Rick Charlesworth described the win as, ‘convincing’.

The Kookaburras gave nothing to their Dutch rivals: midfielders Simon Orchard and Liam de Young defused a threatening Dutch counter-attack even though the game was beyond doubt. Sensational attacker Chris Cirello scored a hat-trick, with Keirian Govers, Glen Turner and Jamie Dwyer hammering their own nails into the Dutch World Cup coffin.

The Australians were at the Dutch like a pack of wild dogs – snuffing out any threat before it could build. The tackling was hard, fast and clinical. Australia’s passing game was expansive with the ball rocketing between players like a pinball. ‘I think we played the best hockey in the world,’ Charlesworth again said redundantly.

Kookaburras

Photo: smh.com.au

And who could argue? The Kookaburras conceded 3 goals throughout the entire tournament, while scoring 30 of their own. The team scored 15 goals more than anyone else while conceding 5 less.

Kookaburras Captain, and player of the series, Mark Knowles led from the front. He played with characteristic focus, precision, and tempered ferocity. His powerful defense and gritty determination to chase down everything the Dutch threw at the Aussies set the standard of play.

A standard the proud Kookaburras rose to meet.