Vegas Hockey Now Notebook is a feature that will run regularly on Wednesdays moving forward. VHN will look at the VGK as well as other NHL news and notes, plus the greater world of hockey. If you have a story you’d like to see featured, please reach out to Tom Callahan on Twitter.
LAS VEGAS TO HOST 2026 NCAA FROZEN FOUR
This is a fantastic story coming out this week, as T-Mobile arena will host the 2026 NCAA Frozen Four. The University of North Dakota is the host school for the event.
For those unfamiliar with the event, this is the “Final Four” of college hockey, leading to the crowning of a national champion at the tournament’s end. College hockey has produced superstars across the generations and this year’s NHL Rookie of the Year Cale Makar played in the final with UMass last season. Other college hockey notables include the Vegas Golden Knights’ Max Pacioretty, Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Toews, and 16 Hockey Hall of Famers.
Vegas will also host a men’s basketball regional in 2023.
BLACKHAWKS ADMIT REBUILD
Speaking of Toews, his angry and surprised reaction to the Blackhawks apparent rebuilding – unbeknownst to him – prompted an open letter to fans on Twitter:
A message to Blackhawks fans. pic.twitter.com/7wBXrJPDQ1
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 20, 2020
Fans reactions have ranged between “well, duh” to annoyance and anger, but when you win three Stanley Cups and pay dearly for the talent to do so, eventually the piper must be paid. Chicago has done a remarkable job of moving big contracts when needed to keep its head above water, but don’t fool yourself. Despite their solid playoff showing in the Return to Play, without the pandemic this was not a playoff team.
HOFFMAN STILL AVAILABLE
Mike Hoffman and his 29 goals remain out on the open market. Today his agent Robert Hooper said 13 teams have expressed interest in him with five or six considered “serious contenders”. Hooper said that Hoffman is open to a one-year deal, but indicated that interested teams are handcuffed by the new cap realities of the pandemic.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli noted he believes that a one-year deal for Hoffman would run roughly $5.5-6.5M.
It makes you appreciate all the hoops that VGK GMKM had to jump through to sign Alex Pietrangelo.
ECHL ANNOUNCES 13 TEAMS WILL START PLAY IN JANUARY
Nothing is normal in the new normal, and the ECHL announced earlier this week that the league will see 13 teams play a full 72-game schedule, with the remaining teams joining in some time in February with a shorter schedule of games.
Of course, everything is tentative in the COVID-19 world, including fans at games. If you think the NHL relies on butts in seats, that goes up tenfold in the minors. If the ECHL can get fans in every building by the time they drop the puck, that’s a major victory.
Tom’s Daily: Players are Pissed; Is It Time To Call The Season Off?
Tom’s Daily: The players are really angry after being asked to make even more concessions; The ECHL’s North Division has shut it down for the year; Sports Illustrated wonders if we should even bother trying to play this year.
Vegas Golden Knights
I am seriously hooked on those YouTube video tours of expensive houses. Alex Pietrangelo’s new digs could end up on one if it hasn’t already. Watch out Summerlin! (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Will labor unrest derail the potential for a 2020-21 season? Players are not happy with the latest ask for salary deferment and more. (TSN)
The SAP Center in San Jose is not the easiest place to get to for a game. The Sharks are trying to figure something out with the city. SanJoseHockeyNow has some ideas.
Willie O’Ree refelcts on his journey to the NHL. (Bar Down)
Humans aren’t the only thing that can’t travel across the border right now… Braden Holtby is stuck at the border with his tortoises. (Sportsnet)
Eight ECHL teams will voluntarily suspend for this season – the entire North Division. (ECHL)
Sports Illustrated wonders if we’re just at a point where we should shut down hockey for the year.
Tom’s Daily: Expanded NHL/NHLPA Return; The Sad Story of Todd Ewen Cont’d
Tom’s Daily: Vegas Golden Knights holiday charity initiatives in full swing; NHL and NHLPA expand return to play committees; Todd Ewen’s widow Kelli fighting with NHL over iPhone content.
Vegas Golden Knights
The team announced plans around its holiday toy drive (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tomorrow is also the last day for the team’s canned food drive. (VGK)
The Seattle Kraken are still full speed ahead as they approach the team’s debut. It looks like several team facilities will be coming online ahead of schedule. (NHL.com)
The sad continuing story of the late Todd Ewen now includes his widow Kelli and the NHL fighting for control over text messages from his iPhone. The messages and data may play a key role in her lawsuit against the league. (TSN)
Interstate hockey has been suspended in New England and New Jersey until at least 2021. (WMUR)
That’s it for Tom’s Daily, but in case you missed it, Golden Knights prospect Lukas Cormier is off to a dominant start in the QMJHL.
Tom’s Daily: New HSK Kit; Hintz For Three in Big D
Tom’s Daily includes new Henderson Silver Knights jerseys; Hintz locked down in Dallas; Is Matt Murray going to work in Ottawa?
Vegas Golden Knights
The Henderson Silver Knights revealed the team’s inaugural season look last night. They look great, and when it comes to design the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. (VHN)
It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the remaining UFA player because it’s just so darn quiet out there. (Sportsnet)
The Dallas Stars assured a huge piece of the future by signing Roope Hintz to a three-year deal. (TSN)
At some point the NHL is going to get back to play, but making the ends meet is still a work in progress. (Sportsnet)
Is Matt Murray going to lead the Ottawa Senators back to glory? I believe Murray still has a lot in the tank and is a fantastic signing for the Sens. Here’s a great look at signing by Travis Yost. (TSN)
King Henrik’s new look in DC is tight. (NHL.com)
As COVID-19 rages, youth hockey continues to wrestle with the question of when and how to play. (WJAR)
That’s it for Tom’s Daily. Don’t miss our free VHN+ preview here – VHN+ is coming soon with exclusive content you can’t find anywhere else for the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL.