BBG&CS: Toque Mask, Ilya to Vegas, New NHL Rules and Youth Hockey’s start in St. Louis

| Best Mask EVER? Harding’s new mask certainly ranks high on my list of favorites!

“While most goaltenders represent just their team or their personal design on their masks, Harding has something different up his sleeve each year. These include a classic mask to raise breast cancer awareness, a tribute to his grandmother, one that paid tribute to his old buddies playing pond hockey, another for favourite band Rascal Flatts, and even one that was a tribute to all the Minnesota masks Miska created over the years. Harding and Miska always team up for something creative.

This year they have a simple design that works well for a state that is as familiar to cold winters and pond hockey as Canadian Harding would be from his days growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan. Miska has painted a ‘toque,’ the classically, even stereotypically, Canadian knitted winter hat.” via

| Holy Humongous Universe! Ilya Bryzgalov has signed a professional try-out agreement with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers. Where do I by tickets, please?:

“Having a world-class player like Ilya in camp is a great opportunity for our organization and our players,” said Wranglers Head Coach and General Manager Mike Madill. “Operating independently of an NHL affiliation allows us the freedom to explore these types of opportunities, and we are thrilled to have Ilya here to work with us, and our goaltenders especially. It will be an amazing experience for them.” — via

| As the new season gets underway, don’t forget the important rule changes for hybrid icing, a new enforcement of some old rules, visors and goalie equipment:

“The other item that the NHL is cracking down on is stick length for goalies, mandating a maximum length of 26 inches for goaltenders 6’5” or shorter. Up-and-coming Senators goalie Robin Lehner, who has used a 28-inch stick for years, explained to InGoal Magazine’s Kevin Woodley that the change had thrown off his positioning a little ….” — via Jonathan Willis

 | Outstanding article on St. Louis Youth Hockey’s start featuring the McKenna’s:

“The year was 1961, 52 years ago, and StL was between stints as a professional hockey outpost. After a 25-year run, including a two-season sabbatical for World War II, the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey Association had gone away in 1953, and the St. Louis Braves, the farm team of the Chicago Blackhawks, wouldn’t arrive until January 1963.

Still, there were passionate hockey people in St. Louis, primarily former Flyers who had married St. Louis women and settled here upon retirement – Eddie Olson, Shrimp McPherson and George Milligan, as well as former Flyers coach Ralph “Bouncer” Taylor, among them. A local also was at the forefront of hockey in St. Louis – Bill McKenna, who became smitten with hockey as a boy after the Flyers came to town in 1928.” — via Mound City Sports

| And if you are not yet aware, Jonathan Willis is stationed in OKC for a stint covering OKC Barons hockey. Welcome to OKC Jonathan! Give him a follow.

– You know that place in The Daily Oklahoman? The one between Big Game & Club Soccer? That’s where you may find some Barons coverage. For the rest of the news, check out BBG&CS every weekend.  –